Letters: Gas energy isn't the best bet

Readers respond to an op-ed by T. Boone

Readers respond to an op-ed by T. Boone Pickens about energy issues. Photo Credit: Richard Milholland / Tribune Media Services

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In response to "We need a serious energy debate" [Opinion, Oct. 15], writer T. Boone Pickens got it right when he said that energy needs to be the focus of the upcoming election. But let's not center this critical discussion on a false choice between filthy foreign oil and damaging domestic gas.

Dirty drilling for gas, known as fracking, has led to drinking water contamination, public health problems and scarred communities in many of the places where it's occurred. As the wells dry up, so do the jobs, creating nothing more than another boom-and-bust cycle. Like oil, gas is a finite resource and therefore, even though it may be cheap today, it will surely be expensive someday.

Pickens gives no mention of the cheapest, cleanest and safest ways to address our energy crisis: conservation and efficiency. This may not make him more money, but it does provide Americans with the greatest economic and environmental benefit. In addition, renewable energy resources such as wind and solar are clean, homegrown and abundant, especially right here on Long Island, where offshore winds leave plenty of potential.

Unfortunately, our nation's energy policies continue to favor the status quo, by providing billions in corporate welfare to the fossil fuel industry while doing too little for efficiency and renewables. In fact, the production tax credit for wind is set to expire at the end of the year. The failure of Congress to signal an intention to extend the credit has already killed wind projects throughout the nation, and thousands of jobs along with them.

Tara Bono, Seaford

Editor's note: The writer is a program coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, an advocacy organization.

Newsday tells us that Pickens is the chief executive of a hedge fund that trades in energy equities and commodities. The piece didn't mention that he is also the founder of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., where he sits on the board of directors. CEFC is a natural gas company. So his piece is not only opinion, it is salesmanship.

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In his attempt to casually dismiss alternative energy, he proves his own unwillingness to enter into a "serious energy debate." Any discussion of energy must include the impact it has on climate and our current state of rising temperatures, since Mother Nature cares little if the fossil fuel being burned originated in the Middle East, America or anywhere else.

In 2007, Pickens planned to build the world's largest wind farm, and he scrapped that to focus on natural gas. This opinion piece may not show how seriously he considers energy alternatives in the 21st century, but it does show how serious he is about selling his own product.

Jim Finlay, Sayville


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