I am writing in response to a recent column titled “Informed citizens will decide on fracking.” The title lays out the problem — the idea of relying on “informed” citizenry to make decisions.
I am not sure about the author, but personally I’d prefer to have my surgery performed by a surgeon who is way more than just “informed,” preferably one that is well-educated, experienced and recommended among his peers. The truth is that if we were operating in a court of law, none of those “informed” opinions would have made it past the door.
However, since Hartwick’s decision was in the court of public opinion, where being informed apparently matters, maybe the residents should consider a ban on all products produced by way of hydraulic fracturing. This would go a long way in proving that the decision was not NIMBY-based and neither were they being hypocritical.
Since 90 percent of oil and gas wells are hydraulically fractured, the gas station and individual heating oil tanks should go. Their removal would be a bonus — they sit over the water aquifer. They could leak, break or explode and ruin drinking water. Replace them with woodpiles (as one informed resident recommended). Next, sit back and watch the particulate matter (soot) levels in the town increase and local air quality diminish. There are other things you could get rid of — your medications, fertilizers, cars, computers, etc. Get the drift?
Banning natural gas development is the easy way out; it only becomes difficult when you have to stop using oil- and gas-related products, which is what a total ban on HF would mean.
Or, alternatively, you could become a part of the growing conversation on responsible energy development.