Energy companies that produce and sell liquefied natural gas -- which have always been interested in profits, first and foremost -- are suddenly shedding crocodile tears over the plight of Ukrainians who might face a cutoff of Russian gas. Their concern is a ruse to increase profits.

Along with their congressional cronies, the companies want to fast-track exports to NATO members and other countries, including Japan and India, so that a mere entry into the Federal Register will suffice for approval. Proposed legislation would require Energy Department regulators to affirm that proposed exports are "consistent with the public interest" without any deliberation.

The health and environmental hazards caused by hydraulic fracturing -- the process by which natural gas is extracted -- are well documented. Despite that, energy firms keep lobbying for the rights to more drilling, more pipelines and more exporting facilities.

Right now, the United States has low natural gas prices compared with other countries. The price in the United Kingdom is double what we pay; in Japan it is quadruple. However, natural gas is a fungible commodity. When companies can get higher prices for the gas extracted from our ground, U.S. prices will inevitably rise. Indeed, they are on the upsurge. Why should they sell it to Americans at one quarter of what they can get in Japan?

Save your sympathies for U.S. consumers, who will be left to deal with the disgusting fracking aftermath, rather than for the bottom lines of energy companies.

Ruth Shalom, Great Neck

Strong protection vs. animal cruelty

I hope that the State Senate will act on the Consolidated Animal Crimes bill, which would add animal cruelty to the state penal code, allowing police to take more informed and decisive action ["Registry targets animal abusers," News, May 6].

The bill would give district attorneys more tools to prosecute these cases and allow judges to mete out longer sentences, assign stiffer penalties and punish repeat offenders more appropriately.

The bill states that any fines would help defray the costs of caring for animals that must be kept in state custody as evidence during trials.

Ted David

Joan Phillips

Glen Cove

Editor's note: The writers are members of the Animal Lovers' League of Glen Cove.

Patchogue ticketing disturbs shoppers

Parking has become a nightmare on Long Island, and especially with meters placed recently in Patchogue, there has been an increase in tickets ["Ticked off," News, May 5].

The village says the money is being used to create more parking facilities, but it is placing more stress on shoppers and businesses. Shoppers don't want to go to Patchogue for fear of being ticketed, which means that businesses aren't getting their customers.

Many drivers say they are being issued tickets when meters are expired by just minutes. One solution might be to give drivers a warning on the first offense. Another solution could be to extend the meter time by five minutes or so before issuing a ticket.

Giving someone a ticket for a meter that's expired by a minute or two is criminal. There has to be another way for communities to make money.

Brittany Steele, Massapequa

Nearly hit by school zone speeder

I read "125 speed cams for LI" [News, May 1]. I smiled, imagining that these areas will be safer for students.

I am a senior in high school. Three years ago, I got off a school bus near my former elementary school, on my way to help out at religious education there. While I was attempting to cross the road, I was almost struck by a speeding car, even though my bus' "stop" sign was extended.

It was lucky that I wasn't hit by that car. Next time, thanks to these cameras, I hope luck won't be necessary.

Krista Manos, West Hempstead

Extend sewer pipe beyond the bay

It makes sense to install an ocean outfall pipe from the Bay Park sewage treatment plant into the Atlantic ["Aid for Bay Park treatment," News, May 13].

The salt marshes protected certain areas during superstorm Sandy. They should be preserved and maintained for this reason, and also because they are natural wonders.

You never know when the next natural disaster will hit, and when it does, we should be prepared.

Catherine Hartel, Hicksville

Mourning bar car on Metro-North

What a shame ["Metro-North bar car takes final run today," News, May 9]. In an ever more socially disconnected society, one of the few last bastions of human interchange has been snuffed out.

Left are the soulless masses hermetically sealed in silver boxes, deprived of fresh air and fresh ideas, faces buried in smartphones crying into the blogosphere to anyone who will listen. Quiet despair and quiet cars, unnerving silence interrupted by the occasional stop, tedium now the service is rendered.

This change snuffs out the only human element of commuting: community.

Christopher Natale, Babylon