Fracturing and climate change


Editor’s Response: I applaud our letter writer for taking the time to read my article about hydraulic fracturing and to share her opinions with the Squire and our readers. I note that our letter writer is quick to attack the article in many ways, including pointing out that she believes the Squire is a smaller paper with limited audience. As we publish our articles online as well as in print, I would disagree. We are also quite proud to be the oldest business in the City of Rockford with strong professional relationships, not a sign of a company (or editor) without high standards.

In addition, the writer saw fit to say I have no integrity journalistically and cut and pasted information from an oil industry pamphlet. As the information is all attributed to an individual with extensive knowledge in the industry, and mostly quotes, I have to point out that this is clearly not the truth.

Although incensed enough to claim to be “a climate change parent because it is my moral, ethical and biological imperative,” I see no mention of what exactly she thinks we should be doing about the amount of energy we use and where it comes from. I emailed my thanks back to this person and asked if she drives a car and where that energy comes from. Perhaps she has asked the energy provider to her home to disconnect to end the constant use of energy from her household.

I pointed out that I do not pretend to be any sort of expert in this issue and take the information given to me from the people I talked to about this issue, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Environmental Quality and the source for this most recent article.

From the letter I see her solution to the causes of global warming is for the citizenry of our nation to be very angry. Anger is not a solution to our energy use issues, in my opinion. Maybe we should be taking a good look at how we all use our energy resources instead of pointing the finger of blame at the people we purchase those resources from.


Beth Altena, Editor


Hello Ms. Altena:

I am writing in response to your article on hydraulic fracturing in the May 2 edition of the Rockford Squire. I found this article to be extremely disturbing, and while I understand that your publication is small and your audience limited, I would think that you would still be interested in holding yourself to high standards and presenting factual information. Your article read like a gas company press release and did not address any of the proven dangers of fracking in any depth. I believe that your piece was highly uninformed and misleading.

In addition to the tremendously negative consequences that fracking has on land and water resources, this process and the gas industry as a whole are huge contributors to climate change. I am not even going to take the time to go through and point out all of the inaccuracies and misrepresentations in your article, because I simply do not have the time. Obviously you are uninformed in regards to important environmental issues, so to help you get in the know, carbon dioxide levels have recently reached 400 parts per billion in our atmosphere. This is a huge leap from the rather un-conservative target of 350/ppb that scientists and scholars have recommended in order to prevent a runaway climate change train – a series of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ feedback loops that will render efforts to limit heat-trapping greenhouse gasses totally useless (like forests releasing carbon dioxide while burning instead of trapping it; methane released from melting permafrost; the ocean no longer being able to absorb excess CO2 – this after critically changing the chemistry of our oceans, which is happening right now in the form of ocean acidification). We are at the precipice of a human/environmental crisis so great that it’s impossible (and painful) to fathom what the future may hold for our children.

Are you a parent, maybe even a grandparent? I am- I have a two small children. It is my belief that the only way we will see our government (local and national) and corporate America make drastic changes toward mitigation is through the collective voice of concerned (ANGRY!) parents, family, and friends. This collective voice spans all ‘classes’, ethnicities, ages, regions, religions… and, hopefully, political party affiliations, making it an even more powerful tool. I am a climate parent because it is my moral, ethical – and biological! – imperative to protect my children’s health and safety. Climate change is an economic issue, national security issue, food issue, geopolitical issue, environmental justice issue, media issue, health issue, and will increasingly become a life and death issue. I refuse to sit back and let our children suffer their fore bearer’s grave mistakes, and I refuse to condone the distribution of lies and misinformation.

The next time you choose write an article about an environmental issue, I truly hope you will take the time to do some research, become informed, and have an understanding of the information your are presenting to the public. Cutting and pasting information provided to you by those who have a financial interest destroying our environment is simply not good journalism.

Megan Scanlan


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.