Phillip Davis’ June 20 letter, “Treated wastewater could be geothermal heat source,” rightly questions reliance on limited supplies of natural gas obtained through destruction of Pennsylvania farmland. Closer to home, my husband and I were shocked to learn on a recent trip to the Washington County town of Robbinston that Downeast LNG plans to construct a natural gas liquefaction and gasification plant to import and export natural gas.

Ships would navigate the treacherous Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay to get the natural gas into and out of this tiny community.

U.S. supplies of natural gas are now abundant because of a dangerous technology called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which injects a mixture of chemicals — some known or possible carcinogenic — into the ground to crack shale and release natural gas trapped in the rocks.

Davis wrote the supply will run out in 36 years, based on current U.S. consumption. It won’t last that long if it’s used to replace coal, which likely will happen given new regulations to curb coal use in power plants. And it won’t last long at all if the permits currently approved or pending at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allow natural gas to be exported from the United States.

Why should Robbinston be the site of a multi-million-dollar boondoggle proposed by Downeast LNG that threatens some of the cleanest and most beautiful land and water on Earth? Grass roots groups up and down coastal Maine have been fighting off proposals for LNG import, and now export, facilities for more than 10 years.

Residents of little out-of-the-way places like Robbinston shouldn’t have to bear this burden alone. All of us who use fossil fuels share responsibility for cleaning up the mess and protecting unspoiled communities like Robbinston from exploitation for short-term profits and paychecks.

Ellen Ryan


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