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Health and safety should come first in fracking debate

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
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Health and safety should come first in fracking debate

Since losing our precious 12-year-old son to brain cancer, I have been on a quest to learn all I can about childhood cancer.

A frightening statistic I have learned is that pediatric cancer has been increasing at the rate of about 1 percent each year in the United States since the mid-1980s.

First I want to be clear, I am not blaming my son’s cancer on hydraulic fracturing. But here’s my point: We are now engaged in the fracking debate: economy/jobs vs. health/environment. While I appreciate the economy/jobs argument, I cannot accept it. The cost in health, safety and life is much too great. To willingly allow toxic and volatile compounds to be injected deep into the earth is to intentionally contaminate the land where we live, grow food, raise livestock and draw our water.

Does anyone truly believe toxic compounds will not leach into these vital life source areas? Additionally, fracturing is believed to compromise air quality as methane and volatile organic compounds enter our atmosphere and the air we breathe.

My intent is simple: Become informed before you join the fracking debate. Consider the possibility that greed, to whatever extent, may compromise the future health of this generation and those that follow. The radio and TV commercials created by the gas proponents say: “Safe, responsible development — get NY working again.” I say, prove it! Show us the complete list of all the chemical substances used in this process and let’s hear from the experts who are not on the corporate payroll.

Wyoming, Louisiana, Utah, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas and, yes, even New York (which is accepting waste water from fracking operations in Pennsylvania) have already made the tragic mistake and now suffer drinking water contamination with high concentrations of salts, acids, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, radioactive materials, and other chemicals. Why would we intentionally want to continue with such a hazardous project?

Start by watching this video: “Fracking Hell: The Untold Story — YouTube.” Please, folks, do the research yourself and then let your voice be heard!

Don DeMarco

Rotterdam

40 years later, Clean Water Act still crucial

Clean water is a bipartisan issue with a long history of bipartisan support. Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972 with the broad bipartisan support of two-thirds of Congress. Congress passed the Clean Water Act with the goal of ending the use of our nation’s waters for discharge of pollutants by 1985.

Clearly we have missed that goal by a long shot, though we have made great progress in cleaning up our waterways for swimming, fishing and drinking water. Still, industrial pollution, toxic dumping, sewage overflows, extreme energy extraction, and many more problems continue to threaten the waters on which our families and communities rely.

We must call upon our elected officials to renew our nation’s commitment to the goal of ending the use of our nation’s waters for the discharge of pollutants, and to work to make all our waters swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

These fundamental goals of the Clean Water Act should have overwhelming bipartisan support, as the act’s initial passage had, because they are crucial to public health, well-being, and local economies all across the nation.

William Perritt

Halfmoon

Tom Quackenbush is a candidate with character

We feel compelled to write because we are disturbed by recent mailings/commercials that have twisted and taken Tom Quackenbush’s words out of context.

These mailings have been malicious in nature, without having the courtesy of identifying the writers. This lack of signatures indicates the writers are cowards that falsely accuse and attack Tom Quackenbush’s integrity.

We had the opportunity to personally speak with Tom Quackenbush when he was campaigning in our neighborhood. We questioned Mr. Quackenbush about his ethical and moral beliefs, as we feel these qualities are the heart of a candidate.

We will be voting for Mr. Quackenbush for the position of 111th state assemblyman, as he shares our concerns regarding ethical accountability in the handling of the sexual harassment scandal by Speaker Sheldon Silver; the college tuition for illegal immigrants bill by Speaker Silver; same-sex marriage; and the importance of bipartisanship.

We are confident that Mr. Quackenbush will represent us proudly, and not resort to the “dirty politics” of Mr. (Angelo] Santabarbara.

Dennis and Sheryl PelkeY

Rotterdam

Insist on getting the facts before voting

We have seen our share of political advertisements on TV lately. Thank goodness we are not in Ohio!

Many of these campaign ads are being run by outside groups that are supposed to be independent from the candidates. Many of them are negative. Some of these ads are spreading misinformation. Studies show that they contain a higher level of attacks and inaccurate statements than candidate campaign ads.

As a member of the League of Women Voters, I believe it is important for Schenectady voters to receive fact-based, nonpartisan information about our elections. Many of these non-candidate ads are leaving voters confused and disgusted. Some say they will not vote as a result.

We are asking the public to join us in asking TV stations to exercise their legal rights for fact checking non-candidate ads if the station believes the ad is misleading or inaccurate. (The same rules do not apply to advertisements by candidates, but stations can run fact-checking segments in their news show about these). This would be an important community service. The person to address your comments to is the general manager of the station.

By voting, we join our families and friends in helping to strengthen our community. As [the] November elections get closer, it is important that Schenectady voters get factual information so they can make their own best decisions. One source of information about candidates’ positions can be found at www.vote411.org.

Carol Furman

Niskayuna

The writer is steering committee leader of the Schenectady County LWV.

Music student got it wrong re ‘Mr. Lowery’

Re Oct. 8 letter, “Music teachers should teach music, not morals”: I am a parent of two Schalmont graduates who has also been involved in the budget committee over the years and the marching band. I am very proud of the education my children have received at Schalmont.

I take issue with this student not giving Mr. Sean Lowery the respect of referring to him in his letter as Mr. Lowery. No matter how you feel about this person, he has earned the right to be called Mr. Lowery — first because of the age difference (sorry Mr. Lowery) and because of how much time and effort put into his own education to become a teacher. Yes, I am of the old school.

In regard to his salary, [Mr. Lowery] does not pick what he gets paid. He is represented by a strong union and has been at Schalmont for a long time. Hopefully, when this student gets into the working world he, too, can find a profession that will allow him the same.

As far as his “moral teachings,” I just keep thinking about the students who may need this story about right and wrong. You never know, the person sitting next to you may have been abused the night before, never heard a kind word, and this may be the only place. And instead of singling out the person and making them feel worse, [Mr Lowery] does it in this manner. You may not need these lessons, but someone else might. Hopefully, with maturity a little tolerance will come.

As far as wasting time in rehearsal, I have been witness to students talking, texting and just being disrespectful to their teachers. Last but not least, we have a great music department for our smaller school district!

Amelia Hallam

Rotterdam

Going gold again would only make things worse

David D’Agostino’s Oct. 11 letter, “Ditching the gold standard was our big mistake,” was fascinating in that he seemed to be advocating that we enter a period of “deflation” by pegging the U.S. dollar to gold. Doesn’t he understand that with a gold standard, as prices fall during deflation, so do wages but not debts?

Making less might not be so bad if the prices of goods and services fell along with wages. But debts such as bank loans, student loans, auto loans and mortgages would remain pegged at the original level of the currency, whose value would now be that of gold. The debts would become harder to pay off!

After the stock market crash of 1929, many countries where hit hard by deflation as their economies fell but not their money. There was the additional problem of investors clamoring to trade in paper money for gold, endangering national gold reserves. Going off the gold standard allowed the United States to preserve its gold reserves and to finance the New Deal and World War II.

The post-war Bretton Woods system of having the leading international currencies pegged to the dollar, which in turn was pegged to gold, fell apart when nations like France and West Germany started to demand gold for dollars.

Today the value of global currencies is determined by currency markets and central bank like our Federal Reserve. It may not be perfect, but it is a much more flexible system than the rigid gold standard that failed to prevent the Great Depression, and actually made it worse.

I would suggest that if Mr. D’Agostino doesn’t accept the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, he convert his savings to gold; or even better, to a diverse basket of durable commodities including silver, copper and steel that he could stockpile at home.

Benjamin J. Turon

Ballston Spa

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comments

October 24, 2012
8:09 p.m.
robbump says...

Fracking sounds like a good economic idea, and even better yet more recently with guesses - I mean estimates - on the quantities that may be in the Marcellus Shale.

My biggest concern is that the industry remains secretive on what chemicals they are pumping into the ground. They try to side-step the questions by maintaining that they are the same ingredients that many have in their kitchen.

Well, my kitchen has Draino, insect repellents, some anti-freeze for my heating system, and many other items that I sure don't want in my water -- but all in my kitchen and probably yours too.

My second concern is that the horizontal drilling/fracturing goes out beyond the property lines of the land procured by the industry. If I'm their neighbor, shouldn't I have the right to MY gas, and only at the time I decide to remove it? This theft of other people's property rights is akin to me buying a small lot in downtown Albany and building an underground convention center, acres big, sprawling under my neighbors' properties. But the chemicals are by far more important.

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