In Response to: Inbox: Letters & Comments [6]

Regarding Mr. French's letter "Fracking Is Not New" (Inbox, May 16):
Mr. French is correct that hydraulic fracturing was used as early as the 1940s in oil and gas drilling operations. Horizontal drilling was developed in the 1980s. The new practice that expanded so dramatically in 2000 was combining the use of horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of natural gas from shale. So the original article in question could have been more precise.
But then Mr. French promulgates two half-truths that are such distortions of the full truth that I felt compelled to respond.
First, he mentions studies that show no harmful effects of fracking. The primary study by the EPA states that the fracking of rock, typically a mile or more deep, has not been shown to contaminate drinking-water supplies. That study then goes on to list six activities involved in the entire fracking process (which includes pumping all of the injected water and chemicals back out of the well and then storing and disposing of this toxic stew) which can impact drinking water supplies significantly.
Second, he states that the primary materials used in fracking are sand and water. This is true in the same way that the elderberry wine served in "Arsenic and Old Lace" was primarily elderberry wine.
May I suggest that Mr. French follow his own advice and "be most careful with all of their facts."