Fracking only makes new problems

I read with interest and horror the letter dated April 23 titled, “Fracking opponents make it harder to keep warm.” It is wrong to say that promoting natural gas for poor people will keep them warmer and save them money. I take issue with Ms. Boyland’s contention that restricting production of natural gas is “downright inhumane.” Quite the opposite. It is inhumane to extract natural gas and subject people to the dangers of this practice.

Most Americans understand climate change is happening. We now know that fossil fuels of all sorts should stay in the ground if we wish for an Earth that can support life. Which dangers would we like to risk by fracking in the Taylorsville Basin in Eastern Virginia: contamination of groundwater, methane release, air pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals, earthquakes and blowouts due to gas explosion?

Natural gas as a “bridge” to renewable energy is not a good option. The gas infrastructure – pipelines, pumping stations and power plants — are meant to last 50 years into the future. But when people get serious about cutting back on fossil fuel extraction and the gas-related projects are retired before their useful lifetime, then the utility customers will likely foot the bill for these “stranded costs”.

The costs of solar and wind continue to drop. Why not have the benefits of lower-cost renewables help those in most financial need, so all can live a comfortable life? Why not contact your local elected official to encourage them to skip the natural gas “bridge to nowhere” and instead work for a fair and just transition directly to renewable energy?

Tyla Matteson

Chesterfield County

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