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Letter: Gas rules must rely on facts, not opinion

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Star Gazette

The Jan. 10 article "Cornell studies diverge on drilling impact" demonstrates one more reason why we should do our homework before ruling out developing shale gas as the fuel of the future.

Safely developing our natural resources in New York has the potential to transform our economy and energy security. Yet critics are attempting to create a culture of skepticism that embraces fear over facts. As a result, much opinion on shale gas is based on unsubstantiated claims.

At times, even the facts must be questioned. Until now, Robert Howarth's 2011 Cornell study has been presented by critics of shale gas as unquestioned evidence to justify claims that shale gas is a dirtier fuel than coal. However, when scientists at the same university investigated further, they found serious flaws and questioned the validity of the study.

The lesson? We must take time to learn the facts and work together to realize the benefits of developing our natural gas in a safe and responsible way.

That's why the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York spent thousands of hours researching water, cement and environmental issues and sent substantive comments with thousands of signatures of support to the Department of Environmental Conservation on its proposed regulations for shale gas development. As the regulations are finalized, we know we have done our due diligence. Amid all the smoke and mirrors, the fact is that we can't afford to get this wrong.

Dan Fitzsimmons

President

New York Joint Landowners Coalition

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