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Letter: Consider public good in fracking

Men with Cabot Oil and Gas work on

Men with Cabot Oil and Gas work on a natural gas valve at a hydraulic fracturing site on Jan. 18, 2012 in South Montrose, Pennsylvania. Credit: Getty Images

I read with interest the article on fracking ["A long wait for decision on fracking," News, May 21], in which a landowners' group in upstate New York is itching to sell drilling rights to solve its financial woes.

It's the state Department of Environmental Conservation's job to thoroughly assess the environmental impact of the toxic and carcinogenic chemicals used in the process, short-term and long-term. Unfortunately, the serious dangers of shale drilling heavily outweigh the immediate economic benefit to the individuals who own the land.

I'm sympathetic to the situation faced by upstate farmers but the cost to all the citizens of New York -- groundwater and air contamination, respiratory and neurological problems, earthquakes, cancer -- is far too great a price to pay. I don't think the landowners would be happy if they could light their kitchen tap water with a match, or if gas wells on their property make the neighbors' land worthless to future buyers.

Our clean water, air and soil should not be for sale. We need intelligent long-term energy policies, not a get-rich-quick scheme for a few.

Monica Weiss, Jamaica