|Fracking a well near home in PA|
Yesterday NY State Senator David Carlucci told the press that the state senate is considering a delay of fracking until some health studies are complete. He told AP reporter Michael Gormley, "We have to put science first; we have to put the health of New Yorkers first."
- NY Dept. of Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah is still working on the health review that should determine whether the final draft SGEIS (Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement) adequately identifies potential public health impacts of fracking;
- Geisinger Health System in PA is studying the impact of Marcellus shale gas mining on health;
- DEP investigators have found two new cases in Dimock, where methane concentrations in private water wells pose an explosion hazard.
But while the NY legislators await results from those studies, there is a wealth of data indicating that gas drilling is not healthy for children and other living things. Especially living things that depend on breathing.
Consider: Pennsylvania recently completed an air pollution study. The overall results weren’t bad. But pollution from shale gas activity has brought pollution to areas that were previously unpolluted.
This reflects what’s been happening in rural areas out west. Vernal, UT saw high levels of ozone and other pollutants resulting from gas drilling. And last July, Sublette County and portions of Lincoln County WY were declared to be in marginal “non-attainment for ozone” under the Clean Air Act. That means they exceeded the federal 8-hour average threshold of 75 parts per billion (ppb), a standard meant to protect human health.
Certainly these impacts aren’t going to hit everyone equally. “Healthy” people in Fort Worth, TX for example may not feel any ill effects, but susceptible populations – children, elderly, people with chronic respiratory and/or cardiac problems – will feel the impacts. And, as has happened in a number of cases, one neighbor’s well may be contaminated while another well escapes harm – at least for a while.
As a wise and compassionate teacher reminded those who were blessed: care for the least of these (who are not so blessed)… for whatever you do for them, you do for me.