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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | Fracking unknowns
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Thursday, January 26,2012

Letters | Fracking unknowns

Fracking unknowns

After reading the Paul Danish article “War on fracking” (Danish Plan, Jan. 12), I was left wondering why he ended up with a clear conclusion that fracking was completely OK and the response against it was unfounded, given that he points out that the combination of fracking and horizontal drilling is rather new and therefore the long-term results are unknown.

He did not address this unknown factor at all.

Mike Ortiz/Lafayette

Paul Danish has been so busy defending oil companies, telling us how qualified Sarah Palin is for president, and disparaging local activists that he seemingly lacks the attention span or humility to admit where he has been wrong. Boulder Weekly’s publisher should hold him more accountable for his mistakes and misleading statements.

Just prior to the Copenhagen climate talks in December 2010, Danish jumped on the “climategate” email story. From a very biased position, Danish claimed that the involved climate scientists had been “brazenly deceitful” and that the “strength of this information” would deem any climate change policy “certifiably nuts” and “terminally inattentive.”

Danish failed to later note that several major investigations cleared the scientists of wrongdoing or fraudulent science — although the scandal served the purpose of further delaying action on climate change. Danish likes to make fun of environmentalists for supposedly rash thinking, but in this case Danish would have us believe that the best way to set climate policy is to use rumors, false allegations and hacked personal emails. Danish wrote that there was something “rotten” in Denmark, but what was really rotten was the concerted effort of conservative and corporate journalists to muddy the water of public debate with what, in retrospect, looks like coordinated misinformation.

Despite getting it very wrong on the last climate talks, Danish continued his shtick recently with the latest round of global climate talks in Durban. Danish argues that the people of the world are not going to agree to climate action, so we’d better forget about carbon reductions. He fails to mention that the demonstrations around the world for climate action in Copenhagen ranked as the largest public political gathering in history.

And, despite the U.S. abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol, more than 1,000 mayors in the U. S. have voluntarily agreed to comply with the carbon reductions, on ethical and practical grounds. Furthermore, just two years ago, one poll showed that two-thirds of us agreed that “America must play a leading role in addressing climate change.” Danish’s strategy for climate change is to “build enough power plants to run two or three billion additional air conditioners.” Again, Danish settles for a shallow and cynical analysis of an issue that contains many complexities and risks, and he does Boulder Weekly readers a disservice.

Then Danish called the efforts of citizens who don’t want genetically modified plants on public lands here “malignantly evil.” Instead of oversim-plifying and attacking the opponents of GMOs, Danish might actually consider their concerns. To support his generalization that “anti-GMO activists see opposition to agricultural genetic engineering … as an avenue for attacking American corporations,” Danish cites just one letter written to the Camera. Danish asserts that “after 15 years there is a distinct paucity of victims” of GMO food consumption, but he fails to consider that there is no way to determine the effects on consumers, because GMO food is not labeled and thus its effects are untraceable. Furthermore, 15 years is a very short time period to test a technology as radical as tampering with the operating code of life. Let’s remember that the early nuclear researchers didn’t know that handling radioactive materials was dangerous until they were dying of cancer, and that the makers of Green Revolution chemicals had no idea that they would cause hundreds of dead zones in the world’s oceans, kill untold numbers of birds and fish, and accumulate in people’s bodies.

In the same article, Danish says the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center is “as responsible for global warming as any oil or mining compa ny,” because they’ve rightfully opposed nuclear power over the years. If you’ve followed the center’s admirable attempts to get the Rocky Flats land cleaned of radioactive contamination, you’d realize how little attention they’ve received from policymakers. It’s ridiculous for Danish to claim that a small group of activists are as responsible for climate change as, say, ExxonMobil. It’s the RMPJ Center that’s behind the GMO controversy too, Danish claims, for “political gain.” Danish employs a straw-man deception instead of presenting a reasoned account of the risks and benefits of this new technology. Other countries are applying the Precautionary Principle to GMO foods and waiting for longer-term studies — and their safety measures are certainly not “evil.”

In a community as educated and progressive as Boulder, I think that we would be better served by our “alternative” paper if it would provide more informative opinions. With looming issues such as climate change and food safety, too much is at stake for Danish’s narrow and overconfident analyses.

Douglas Dupler/Boulder

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