Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 15, 2013

Letters to the Editor: 09/15/2013

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Some bad information

Mr. Hanson’s Aug. 20 letter was interesting, but he was the recipient of some bad information. Plenty of studies done by federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Commission, state agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Natural Resources and private research institutions, such as Cornell University, have shown shale gas can be and is extracted safely all over the planet.

The activist crowd would have everyone believe there is some huge conspiracy involving federal agencies, state agencies, local inspectors, industry people, etc. The reality is that it has been approved because it has been proven safe and efficient across the nation and is closely monitored here in Michigan.

Disastrous? The best the “ban everything” crowd can come up with is a few cherry-picked incidents, all of which either have been dealt with or are currently in the process of being dealt with by the appropriate agencies.

Natural gas is a critical part of our current energy needs and works well with renewable energy sources regardless of what Mr. Hanson says. This issue deserves a debate using facts instead of using alarmist rhetoric to incite emotional responses.

John Simaz

Big Rapids

The writer is field representative for Energy In Depth, a research, education and public outreach campaign supported by the oil and gas industry.

Cutting isn’t the answer

Every day thousands of our neighbors, friends, families and coworkers silently suffer from hunger. Instead of allowing us to help them, Congress is proposing cuts to vital programs that help feed families, children and the elderly. We can’t let this happen.

About one in six people are hungry; half of those are children.* Many Michigan residents are struggling to put food on the table and lead healthy lifestyles.

Currently programs are in place that can help solve the hunger and health problems that our hardworking community members face. Two such programs, are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, i.e. food stamps) that supplements Americans’ diet with nutritious food and its corresponding Nutrition Education Program (SNAP-Ed) that empowers families to make healthy food choices on a limited budget. Thanks to SNAP-Ed, Michigan residents have developed skills like cooking, grocery shopping and budgeting to keep their families healthy.

As our country continues to face the consequences of poor nutrition habits, SNAP and SNAP-Ed continue to be under fire during Farm Bill deliberation. Cutting important nutrition programs isn’t the answer. We must keep SNAP and SNAP-Ed programs in our state to ensure our communities stay healthy.

Sarah Eichberger


* Source: Food Research Action Center, referencing a 2012 United States Department of Agriculture