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Nov 30, 2012

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Dennis Sanders

I've noticed that Christians for the Mountains also has issues with fracking? What do you think about it? I'm not automatically opposed to it, but I'm not automatically in favor of it either.

The other issue I have is can we or should we get off coal. It's a pretty dirty energy source, but the alternatives of wind and solar don't produce enough on-demand energy and people are scared of nuclear power. The other concern is if you end coal production, what happens in those regions that are economically strapped as it is. If we need to get off coal (and there is a case to be made for it) how to do we do it in a way that won't hurt people economically in Appalachia?

BTW, I don't think mountaintop removal was ever a good idea and it should be prohibited.

Dan

Well, fracking poses a pretty serious dilemma for water usage politics. Fracking requires a heavy usage of water to draw out natural gas, these isolated mountain communities are likely the least likely to benefit from using huge quantities of their water supply that could be used to drink or water their crops. As such, I'm sure Christians, especially in mountains where water could be scarce, are likely to be resistant to expansion of fracking near their communities.

Michael W. Kruse

Dennis, my understanding is that we don't really know what the impact of fracking is on the environment. And that is what has many concerned.

I hear you on concern about the plight of people in coal country. Many of the residents of this area are opponents of the environmental challengers as they fear for their livelihoods and way of life. It is complex.

The North Dakota fracking boom is a very mixed bag as well. Dan raises the water issues. Some farmers have awakened one morning to find their ponds emptied by less than ethical drillers. People on fixed incomes who have lived in the area all their lives are being driven from their homes because the cost of living has soared. Meanwhile the state is not investing in of the tax revenue from these operations in the infrastructure of these communities nor is it requiring drillers to do so. I think the mountain top mining is more about breaking up these mountains and releasing toxins into the environment in addition to simply disrupting the order of the environment that is there.

These natural resource booms are always a mixed bag. They make wonderful case studies for thinking about economic justice.

Dennis Sanders

I don't know if I was clear previously, but am apprehensive about fracking. It is a way to get more energy, but I think we still have to determine what the cost is. Issues like the water are issues I've heard of before and it should give one pause for concern.

But there are other issues as well. If fracking is a concern and if it was banned, this means getting oil from other sources or relying on electric cars which tend to be powered by coal. Are we willing to give up our energy usage?

I just think trying to solve this issue is not clear cut or simple.

Michael W. Kruse

The operative phrase is "trade-offs." ;-) I hear ya. I'm supportive of fracking too but am also aware of the incredible disruptions natural resource booms cause. There is no perfect painless process.

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