March 31, 2013

Regarding the March 24 editorial “A breakthrough on fracking”:

The suggestion that environmental groups should “accept that the country is fracking” and give up on resisting this highly toxic method of drilling for natural gas is like accepting tobacco and offering smokers filtered cigarettes. That some environmental groups treat fracking as an unstoppable inevitability is unfortunate and only reinforces our society’s unsustainable addiction to fossil fuels.

Voluntary standards created in concert with the oil and gas industry will not make fracking clean and safe. After all, this is the same industry that successfully leveraged its political influence to make existing fracking operations exempt from such key environmental protections as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The numerous effects of fracking to public health and the environment can never be mitigated through regulation; the practice is inherently harmful.

The more people learn about fracking, the more they oppose it. In New York, where the issue has been debated for a number of years, public opinion polls now consistently show a majority against it. Americans everywhere are moving against fracking. So-called environmental groups that ignore this national movement and the science driving it do so at their own peril.

Wenonah Hauter, The Plains

Sandra Steingraber, Trumansburg, N.Y.

The writers are, respectively, executive director of Food & Water Watch and the co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking.