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Weighing Energy Costs And Alternatives


Dear Editor:

Over the past few weeks I have read the pros and cons of the gas drilling controversy. While I can appreciate the concerns about water safety, there are other matters and issues.

Home heating oil is priced between $3.69 and $5.25 a gallon in this area, from what I have been told. Since we have not bought any since 2009, we do not keep up with the prices.

Electric rates have skyrocketed—heating with heat pump powered by electric has doubled in cost in the last 12 months, and the electric rate increases are being phased in. I will not be heating with that for the winter of 2011, as we cannot afford to pay $500 a month for electric. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. is considering cutting the LIHEAP grants in half. $1,000 will not buy much energy, whether you use oil or electric or propane.

Natural gas, in my own experience, has always been less expensive than all other choices. Possibly a ground source heat pump would be the only one that could compete in price with the natural gas. However, purchase and installation of the latter is quite costly. Yes, it will pay for itself, but you need the money to pay for it upfront just like solar or wind.

The fact remains that every dollar we spend on foreign oil supports terrorism, buys bullets, bomb making materials and rockets to kill American military personnel. Oil money finances terrorism all over the world and even bankrolled 9-11.

With the ever-increasing costs of energy, if a good reliable source of inexpensive energy is not available, considering cuts in LIHEAP grants (is not the answer). The elderly, disabled, and low-income people will freeze to death due to the use of unsafe methods of heating, (such as) kerosene heaters, gas ovens, and improperly-installed wood stoves.

I have seen ads for a Facebook page started by prestigious law firms, (and) I smell class action lawsuits brewing that will benefit no one except those who are representing everyone. (They) will benefit handsomely and never have to worry about the cost of heating their homes or filling their gas tanks.

While possible contamination of ground water is a concern, I will make it clear that the ground water here is not as pristine as many would like to think it is. Several years before the arrival of the gas companies, a neighbor on our road had her water tested and then contacted the paper about the results. Based upon that, I too had my water tested to learn that it contained barium and arsenic, among other undesirable chemicals. There is at least one Superfund Clean Up Site here in Bradford County, which may well be the source of the contamination.

Methane is found in high concentrates in cow manure. For 400 years cattle have been raised in this area and their manure spread across the fields. Rainfall and snow melt causes that to wash into the ground and get into our water supply, among other things that go with farming and livestock. So the methane has been here all along. The question is what to do with it.

There are electric generation plants that are run on methane in other parts of the world. The same technology is available to us. So why not use it? The more plentiful electricity is, the less expensive it should become, unlike the big rate increases we are all seeing from Penelec at this time. We can live in fear of the unknown, listening to the so-called experts who will get rich off the fear, allow the county to remain the one horse town it has always been, or we can move into the future with less unemployment, some intelligent development, and clean American energy. What is your choice?

Robin Lutz

New Albany




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