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Merits of Drilling Debated

The October issue of the Bulletin mentions a book by Diana Furchtgott-Roth ’79, which “sets its sights on the ‘green energy revolution’ championed by Obama.” Allow me a moment to set my own sights on Madam Furchtgott-Roth.

“We now have 200 years’ worth of inexpensive natural gas,” she says, so why even talk of solar and wind power? It’s “completely laughable.” Really?

I assume that her “200 years’” remark refers largely to estimates of gas obtainable by deep-earth drilling—that whole Marcellus Shale thing—though even the pro-drill lobbyist estimates often stop at 100 years. But that’s not the point. This drilling procedure is still largely unproven. It is riddled with controversy, with lawsuits at state and local levels springing up in all targeted areas (including, by the way, the southwest, north central, and northeast areas of Pennsylvania). Desecration of environment and danger of water pollution are just two of the issues being raised.

It is not my purpose to pass judgment on all of this. I merely wish to point out that to summarily ditch all research on alternatives to deep-earth, high-pressure drilling—alternatives that are proven and already in use both here and in Europe—well, that’s what is “completely laughable.”

Depending, of course, on your sense of humor. We have just emerged from a year of political campaigning, replete with well-oiled (pardon the pun), facile, glib, cavalier exaggerations of every description. You pick the party. We are desensitized. In fact, we are getting used to it. It’s just that I expect something better from a Swarthmore graduate.

Ted Bromwell ’49
Pittsburgh, Pa.

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