In my Dec. 30 column, I opined that Lee County residents were fortunate that none of the state’s coal- fired power plants were located nearby and that the county’s economy was not reliant on row-crops and orchards, requiring intensive use of pesticides, as is California’s Central Valley, which some neurologists call ‘Parkinson’s Alley.” There are other environmental problems with which our residents do not have to contend but that residents in some other parts of the country do, namely, pollution of drinking water and streams resulting from hydro fracturing of subsurface shale to release oil or methane, aka natural gas.

I have commented previously on some of the problems experienced by residents living close to sites where “fracking” is being employed, but failed to mention reports of unacceptably high levels of radioactivity in water contaminated by fracking.

And recently another environmental problem, the occurrence of earthquakes, is believed by some seismologists to result from fracking. In November an energy company in England stated that it was “highly probable” its fracking had caused earthquakes ranging from 1.9 to 2.8 on the Richter scale. In Arkansas around 100 earthquakes occurred in a week before the state government shut down an energy company fracking in the Fayetteville shale formation. The company was disposing of wastewater by pumping it deep underground. The state’s Oil and Gas Commission said operations at the injection wells might have caused 1,000 earthquakes in the region in a six-month period.