The Electrical Worker online
June 2012

Letters to the Editor
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The Cost of Fracking?

Regarding your article on the natural gas boom (April 2012 Electrical Worker), while it is so good to see workers getting back to work, we cannot allow the gas companies to wreak havoc on our environment and our health. In your article you claim that natural gas is cleaner and produces less carbon emissions than coal and oil. According to a Cornell study, the leakage of methane from shale gas production escapes into the atmosphere at a rate, over the lifetime of a well, that is greater than those of conventional gas. This unused methane has a higher carbon footprint, thereby actually causing more greenhouse gas.

Also, regions with drilling rigs have high levels of smog, as well as other airborne pollutants, including known carcinogens. I must also mention that it has been concluded that the latest surge in earthquakes in Ohio has been due to the injection wells where this toxic "frackwater" is being dispersed. Call me crazy, but if the hydrofracking industry needs to be exempt from the clean water and safe air acts, then maybe we should be looking in another direction to boost our economy. I suggest we aggressively invest in renewable energy sources that would result in a sustainable energy future for the country.

Chris Knoeppel
Local 3, New York

The World According to the GOP?

The Republicans have been looking backward and attacking organized labor and good jobs in America since the late 1800s, even falsely slurring labor as "communists" and "traitors." Currently the entire 2012 GOP campaign strategy is based on telling America how great things were "backwards" in U.S. history. The GOP says it was great before Social Security, unemployment insurance and Medicare existed, before labor had rights, before Roe v. Wade, before women had rights, before the Jim Crow poll tax was outlawed, before civil rights, before government regulation or oversight of businessman 1 percenters. Nevermind, now the GOP wants to "look forward."

They look forward to making American labor work like Communist labor, forward to a future where U.S. labor can be dragged out of bed, given a bowl of rice and put back to work making the company and the commissars money. They look backward to attack labor and good U.S. jobs, unless they want to look forward and attack labor and good U.S. jobs. It really doesn't matter which way the GOP looks, because whenever and wherever they look, they think that American labor is communist and bad but Chinese communist labor is good if Apple or Walmart make a huge profit. Their party has zero percent integrity and works 100 percent of the time to back the richest 1 percent. In a 2012 election battle between the China Communist corporate GOP and 99 percent of working Americans, it is hard to see how the Democrats lose.

Mike McCampbell
Local 5 member, Pittsburgh

Union in the U.S.A.

As I drive down the N.J. Turnpike on my way back to college after the weekend home, I pass numerous construction projects. It gets me thinking about the union construction workers toiling on this extensive project to expand this major highway in my home state. And how I ALWAYS see American flags hanging from the construction equipment on union jobs like this one. Patriotism is not something they put on for holidays or special events. Patriotism is something they live daily, on the job laboring to build, and rebuild, our country. It gives me much pride to know that my Dad is one of these tradespeople — a 25-year member of IBEW Local 400 in Wall, N.J. And as patriotic as the brother next to him.

Thank you union tradespeople in New Jersey for reminding me of my love for this country of which I am proud. And thanks, Dad, for the union work you have done all these years, which has given me the opportunity to be making this drive to college.

Laura Marie Blackburn
Daughter of Local 400 member Laurence Blackburn, Asbury Park, N.J.