In his letter titled “Make rules that are based on science,” the writer’s title is correct. Opinion and rhetoric have no place at the table. Science not only quantifies risks, but can also take into account benefits. Regulators have to take both into account. However, the benefits are rarely mentioned in the media. This has led to an extremely one-sided discussion, as his letter illustrates.
Natural gas and other hydrocarbons — when appropriately used — improve all our lives.
Natural gas is a raw material in many manufacturing processes. It is used in the production of many commonly used chemicals, in the pharmaceutical industry to make medications and in the agricultural industry to make fertilizers used to grow a significant portion of our global food supply.
One of the most important uses of natural gas is in production of plastics, coating and adhesives. Propane (from natural gas) is converted to propylene, which is a key building block in acrylic glass, insulation foams, construction glues, packaging plastics, sticky tape and other common products.
The continued, unrealistic push for a ban on hydraulic fracturing would be catastrophic to the supply of the basic building block of some of our modern-day conveniences. According to the Department of Energy, our nation is relying more and more on shale gas. In the DOE publication, “Why Shale Gas is Important,” shale gas production has increased 12-fold and the trend is expected to continue. This is good news! Gas is more abundant — this translates to lower consumer prices. Another piece of good news in the publication — natural gas has helped the U.S. achieve 70 percent of the CO2 reduction targeted under the Kyoto protocol.
So, if you believe a ban is the solution, be careful what you wish you.