Fracking isn't the path to long-term stability

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Recent Post-Gazette editorials seem to take an aggressively pro-fracking stance, criticizing county Councilman Charles Martoni for opposing fracking on county land ("Majernik in District 8," Oct. 21) and lambasting the Heinz Endowments regarding the exit of leaders who espoused "best practices" of natural gas fracking ("Family Affair? The Exits at the Heinz Endowments Are a Concern," Oct. 21). It's still fracking, whether best or worst practices, and the Heinz Endowments is wise to defend philosophical and/or practical opposition to the fracking industry.

Rather than being our "newest and highest-profile growth industry," fracking is an environmentally destructive cash grab by drillers and hardly a long-term solution to Pennsylvania's rural unemployment. Each fracked well has a short lifespan of five to 30 years (if it produces at all), and the industry would be anemic without taxpayer subsidies. Taxpayers pay much of the costs of equipment, supplies and distribution.

Employment "predictions" have been found to assume inflated numbers and lifespans of wells and to ignore the fact that many of the higher-skilled workers relocate from out of state. But the most important consideration is that all fossil fuel industries, especially those, like natural gas, which are used to produce electricity, face an impending shutdown as the country makes a shift to alternative sources of electric power, such as solar and wind. Scientists have already concluded that a moratorium on carbon emissions is necessary to prevent catastrophic planetary warming. This problem is not going to go away.

What Pennsylvania needs is investment in alternative energy industries. This would provide a real "new and high-profile growth industry" that would provide permanent, stable jobs and communities into the distant future.

SARAH FLANDERS
Squirrel Hill


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