Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Fracking's" Knee-Jerk Enemies

This letter appeared in the NJ Star-Ledger on 12/6/12:

Fracking and autism
I am the president of Impact Oasis, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create meaningful work and peaceful residences for adults with autism by establishing local sustainable farms.
The leading theory on the cause of autism is that it is a combination of six to seven genes plus an unknown environmental trigger. Until we know what that trigger is, we are dedicated to removing toxins from our lives.
Hydraulic fracturing unquestionably produces toxic waste. It is foolish to create a poison without first knowing how it can be safely discarded or stored.
We cannot afford to add more toxins to our land, food, water and air that may contribute to a further increase in developmental disabilities in our children. Please contact our Republican leaders in the New Jersey Assembly and ask them to vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of S253, which would ban fracking waste from entering our state. 

Mai Cleary, Middletown

So, until we learn what the "unknown environmental trigger" for autism is, if it even exists, then all "toxins" should be removed from our lives. (Does this mean toxins that cause other ailments are ok? Your guess is as good as mine.) I've left the following comments:

RE: Fracking and Autism 
What would our environment be like without clean potable water delivered to our fingertips, the end of infectious disease epidemics through indoor plumbing and sewage treatment plants, central heating and AC, the end of famine through modern agriculture, sturdy housing that can protect us from the elements, electrified illumination at the flick of a switch, safe comfortable long distance travel, pharmaceuticals to treat our ailments? All of this, and much, much more, is powered by energy, and fossil fuels provide the vast bulk of that energy. 
Fossil fuels power the development that has transformed earth’s hostile natural environment into a livable, comfortable environment for humans, autistic and healthy alike. “Fracking” is a wonderful technology that has unleashed vast new quantities of natural gas and oil, right here in North America, to continue to maintain and improve our living environment while at the same time releasing us from reliance on Mideast oil. 
By all means, have objective laws that enforce proper hazardous waste disposal, punish polluters, and compensate proven victims of improper toxic waste disposal. But the knee-jerk, blind opposition to hydraulic fracturing that lies behind S253’s outright ban on “fracking” waste entering NJ is wrongheaded economically, strategically, and environmentally—and, thus, immoral. The known risk of life without fossil fuels far outweighs the dangers of waiting until all potential risks are alleviated—an impossible task that requires omniscience.

Related Reading:

Cheers to the Heroes Driving America's Oil and Gas Boom

The Environmental Case for Fossil Fuels, by Alex Epstein


Steve D said...

If we don't know what causes autism then it is very likely that it is a substance we do NOT presently recognize as a toxin.

Mike LaFerrara said...

It may not be a physical toxin at all. Bad ideas that cripple, rather than foster, natural mental development during early upbringing and education may play a role in causing the child to turn inward from external reality.