Letter: Columnist Dan Simpson misstates the facts on fracking

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“Normally I don’t write about fracking,” admitted Dan Simpson in a July 30 column (“Fracking Compromises the Future of Pennsylvania”). The barrage of baseless and unsubstantiated claims lodged against the thousands of hardworking Pennsylvanians who work in the shale industry — and their shared commitment to protecting our environment — certainly reflects his lack of basic subject matter knowledge.

It’s downright offensive that he’d suggest that shale development is equivalent to “rape.” Inflammatory claims like these erode our public discourse, something newspapers should seek to elevate. Mr. Simpson weakly attempts to frame this important discussion as other fringe special interests groups often do: We can either have good jobs or we can protect our environment.

Pennsylvanians, Mr. Simpson, are smart people, and they recognize that this is a false choice.

In fact, despite Mr. Simpson’s claim that “a few jobs are created,” shale is creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. At a recent U.S. Department of Energy hearing in Pittsburgh, a Laborers’ International Union of North America official stated that shale is transforming “people’s lives by providing steady, quality long-term employment,” adding: “For many, it has been a path out of poverty.”

At that hearing, President Barack Obama’s energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, said: “The president often uses the term ‘ladders of opportunity to the middle class.’ The energy industry has been a premier provider of those ladders of opportunity.”

Further, air quality is sharply increasing as more natural gas is increasingly utilized to power our economy and meet our growing energy needs.

What’s really “hard to imagine” is why the Post-Gazette allowed such disparaging and verifiably false claims to be printed.


Amber Benzon

Director of Government Affairs

Marcellus Shale Coalition

North Fayette


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