Letter: The price of fracking
V. K. Mathur (Monitor Forum, Aug. 3) praises the abundance and low price of U.S. fracked natural gas. Mathur lives in New Hampshire. I live on Long Island in New York. Neither of us are forced to deal with the side effects of this invasive extraction technique, but we both benefit from the cheap fuel.
However, I did grow up in West Virginia, one of only two states with shale formation under the entire state (the other is Louisiana). Since the “gas boom” began several years ago, the character of New Martinsville, my hometown, has drastically changed.
The fracking companies employ their own workers from out of town, so housing costs have skyrocketed for locals. Some residents have attributed increased drug and crime activity to the influx of non-local workers who have no ties to these communities.
There have been numerous chemical spills, contamination of drinking water, severe damage to roads, long traffic jams, and the overall quality of life has greatly declined.
From afar, fracked natural gas appears to be a cure-all for energy independence and satiating energy demand. However, the true costs to New Martinsville and to other small towns that could not declare “not in my backyard” are not accounted for within the cost of the extracted gas. If we were to include those costs to really compare apples to apples, surely less-invasive energy technologies like solar and wind would at least come out on par, if not less expensive.