Charles Lane, in his Sept. 17 op-ed, “Democrats: This is why we need fracking,” framed recent strikes on Saudi oil production as an economic and foreign policy flash point and alleged it would be even worse if we as a nation had not already adopted “fracking” to get more natural gas and to become more energy-independent. He claimed the developments in the Middle East have “reminded us of fracking’s strategic benefits.” He praised the benefits of fracking as being better for the environment than coal and, if regulated, better than dependence on coal.

Mr. Lane dismissed the environmental costs of fracking. Fracking does more immediate harm to the environment in a moment in which the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has explained that there must be an international “unprecedented shift in energy systems.” The panel’s 2018 report stated that the transformations required to avoid this “can be done within [the] laws of physics and chemistry.” It posited that the only question left is one of political willpower: Will the governments of the world’s largest energy producers set their intentions toward preserving the planet instead of saving the globe’s largest oil producers?

President Trump has made it explicit that our foreign policy is in the grips of global oil concerns. We need not further defend fracking and other dirty energy production to become energy-independent. As policy proposals such as the Green New Deal have shown, we can do this at a much lower cost to the environment, plus improve the lives of many of the most vulnerable Americans, with a dedicated effort to convert our nation’s energy reliance to renewables.

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Zachary Mossburg, Frederick

Charles Lane doubled down on climate disruption. Hydraulic fracturing — fracking — has prolonged the hold oil barons have on our government, our economy and the future of civilization.

Where was Mr. Lane over the past few decades when the dire consequences of continuing our dependence on fossil fuels were being hidden from the public? Where was his warning back then about how “scary” it is? How scary will it be for our children and their children as the world is devastated by intolerable heat, rampant disease proliferation, rising oceans, increased species extinction, and heightened intensity and frequency of drought, floods and hurricanes?

We need to have the courage to rebuild our energy industry around clean, safe, job-producing sources and drive the use of dirty fossil fuels down to zero within the next two decades. Mr. Lane and oil apologists need to get out of the way.

Robert Emmett Morris, Washington

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