NY Times Readers React to Fracking Series

The New York Times' Drilling Down series – which investigates “the risks of natural-gas drilling and efforts to regulate this rapidly growing industry” – has garnered great interest and praise. In response to their series, the Times recently (July 2 ) published several letters-to-the-editor including one that I had submitted in which I emphasize the importance of more carefully integrating the planning and management of the nation’s energy and water resources. To view the full letter as well as others, see here or read it below.

New York State has been at the heart of the debate around natural-gas drilling, a subject we have covered in some detail at Ecocentric. After many months of build up, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation said they will seek to lift the ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing,


To the Editor:

Re “Behind Veneer, Doubt on Future of Natural Gas
(“Drilling Down” series, front page, June 27):

I hope that the United States Energy Information Administration’s “lively debate” about shale gas development not only continues but also expands to include a closer examination of how hydraulic fracturing may affect water resources. Officials at the highest levels of government must ensure that energy policies do not harm the nation’s drinking water and aquatic resources.

Energy and water are highly interdependent resources, and as a 2007 Sandia Laboratories paper recommends, they “need to be managed together in a more integrated way to provide reliable energy and water supplies and sustain future national growth and economic development while maintaining the health of ecosystems and the environment.”

Clearly we have rushed into shale gas development, just as we impulsively dived into corn ethanol production without understanding the consequences. If we don’t heed Sandia’s recommendation, we will continue to make bad energy policy at a time when we have little room for error.