Would E.F. Schumacher, the author of "Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered," have agreed with the majority of economists who say the United States would benefit from increased fuel exports ["Economists in poll favor more U.S. oil, natural gas exports," Business, April 30]?

Public health costs resulting from extraction and use of fossil fuels -- even those touted as "clean" natural gas or that oxymoron, "sweet" crude -- would certainly have entered into Schumacher's calculations. Some risks include cancer, asthma, miscarriage, burns, genetic mutations and death.

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The cost of maintaining obsolete energy systems rather than mandating forward-looking plans for renewables would have been considered by Schumacher, as would the cost to the natural environment. Your article reports only one reason given by the dissenting economists: Increased exports could make it more expensive for people to heat their homes and fill up their cars.

Schumacher would remind us that it is the people who matter, not only their pocketbooks.

Gladys Paulsen, Huntington Station

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Sierra Club.