Discussion of myriad hypothetical and some real possibilities of danger coincidental to recovering natural gas from shale has approached the level of hysteria in public forums. Other major energy sources have demonstrated the permanent and threatened realities to the environment and yet continue to be utilized, although more restricted, such as coal and nuclear options.
Natural gas, however, has on rare occasions, with culpability of user or producer, wreaked havoc with explosions, fires and production issues — but seldom if handled responsibly. This can be controlled to the extent that anything can be humanly controlled, by strict regulation.
I spent more than three decades in the gas industry and came to realize the wonderful attributes of this natural fuel in selling it in very large quantities for commercial and industrial purposes. The fuel is extremely versatile and contributes not only its calorific content but the form value that has made it extremely useful in treating steel and in innumerable processes that are not easily duplicated by other fuel types.
The plentiful supply of shallow drilled wells in this region freed our cities and neighborhoods of the filth and inconvenience of other fuels, namely coal. Remember when the lights went on in Pittsburgh at noon due to heavy industrial use of coal?
Natural gas could free us of solely depending on the aging power grid through the intelligent application of fuel cells that utilize natural gas as a power source. It has shown its working application in vehicles, as with buses in our city.
We need new manufacturing in this country, along with good-paying jobs, to lift us out of this moribund economy.
Natural gas is not the total answer to this conundrum, but it is certainly in the mix, and we cannot afford to disparage it hysterically, and irresponsibly, to our own detriment.
RICHARD S. KOSTKAS