Quantcast
Energy

Just Released: 100+ New Studies Demonstrating the Risks of Fracking

A partnership encompassing nationwide medical and public health experts and scientists released the third edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. The compendium, the first two editions of which were important in highlighting the science in New York before the ban was announced, compiles and summarizes hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and other important findings on fracking. The emerging science, including more than 100 studies after New York’s ban was announced, further shows that Gov. Cuomo and his Administration were right to ban high volume fracking. 

For the first time, the compendium includes a section on fracking infrastructure, examining the impact of pipelines and compressor stations on health and safety in New York. Physicians for Social Responsibility, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization of physicians, nurses and other public health professionals, joined with Concerned Health Professionals of New York to release the report nationally and send the new report to Gov. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Zucker, with letter urging the state to put a hold on gas infrastructure expansion until and unless their safety can be demonstrated through comprehensive public health and environmental assessments.

Additionally, the organizations sent letters with the report to President Obama and the Surgeon General asking that they acknowledge the health risks and to call for a meeting. They also sent letters to the governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland, highlighting the significant health risks and calling for moratoria or ban on fracking. 

The health groups’ letter to Gov. Cuomo and Commissioner Zucker likewise applauds them for their leadership in relying on solid scientific research and protecting the public health and safety of New Yorkers. In the face of numerous proposals to expand gas infrastructure in the state and emerging scientific evidence of impacts and risks from infrastructure, the health groups are calling for New York to use its power in the permitting process to put on hold and deny permits to expand gas infrastructure and for assessments of public health and environmental impacts to be undertaken. The letter notes that in many cases the federal government has approved permits without adequate consideration of critical issues and impacts.

The letter states, “We strongly urge New York State to put on hold and deny any expansion of natural gas transmission and storage projects, until and unless their safety can be demonstrated through comprehensive public health and environmental assessments.”

The letter notes the range of proposed projects and potential impacts, “What we already know about the public health and climate risks of fracking infrastructure is troubling. What we don’t know is all the more alarming. As New York is faced with numerous proposed new and additional gas pipelines, compressor stations, storage facilities and a major liquefied natural gas terminal, we believe it is crucial to examine both the individual risks these projects pose and to consider their cumulative impacts, including to the state’s climate and energy goals.”

The section of the compendium on drilling and fracking infrastructure compiles the science evidence available, which includes evidence of alarming risks. For example, compressor stations and pipelines are both major sources of air pollutants, including benzene and formaldehyde, which create serious health risks for those living nearby. 

As the letter says, in their review of fracking, New York's Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rightly noted the potential for harmful air impacts, environmental impacts and other risks from infrastructure. (DOH Health Review p. 5 and Findings Statement p. 27) Given the risks, this year the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association each specifically called for comprehensive health impact assessments regarding the health risks associated with fracking infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines and compressor stations.

The letter also notes that infrastructure poses climate impacts, which are counterproductive to the state's climate and greenhouse gas emissions goals. New York concluded (DEC Findings Statement, p. 18) that natural gas contributes to climate not only directly but also by furthering availability and consumption of fossil fuel, which “has the potential to undermine the deployment of various types of renewable energy and energy efficiencies, thereby suppressing investment in and use of these clean energy technologies.”

Kathy Nolan, MD, MSL, of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility—New York, said, “Gov. Cuomo and his Administration showed great wisdom and courage in listening to the science and ultimately prohibiting high volume fracking in order to protect public health. Similar to fracking, numerous gas infrastructure proposals pose risks of harm to public health, air pollution and exacerbating climate change. For the wellbeing of all New Yorkers, Gov. Cuomo should put on hold and deny gas infrastructure expansion proposals until and unless their safety can be demonstrated through comprehensive public health and environmental assessments.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Fracking Forces Schools to Practice Earthquake Drills for First Time Ever

Another U.S Nuke Bites the Dust

Oil and Water Don’t Mix: California Must Ban Fracking

2 More Fracking-Related Earthquakes Hit Oklahoma Despite New Rules Meant to Prevent Them

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Animation showing percent of acres burning worldwide. NASA / GSFC / SVS

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas

By Sharon Kelly

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America's electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

Keep reading... Show less
Pexels

Forest Gardening With Space for Wild Elephants

By Michael B. Commons

In my collaboration with Terra Genesis International, I have been given space and support to investigate what we may call "Regenerative Pathways," looking at real life examples of functional farming systems that we can identify as being on the "Regenerative Agriculture Pathway."

While these farms/farming systems might be called "Regenerative Farms," we see regeneration more as a long term process and continuum that we can evaluate through indicators such as soil health, water retention, biodiversity, community health and more.

Keep reading... Show less
Slava Bowman / Unsplash

How Can We Help Put a Human Face on Climate Change?

By John R. Platt

Communicating the truths about climate change isn't always easy. Sometimes the effects of climate change seem to hover in the future, or are occurring most visibly in other parts of the world. Other times they're subtle—at least for now. And of course, there are some people who just don't want to hear anything about it.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Aerial view of Yaguas River and the Cachimbo tributary. Alvaro del Campo, Field Museum

Peru's Newest National Park Safeguards 2 Million Acres of Amazon Rainforest

The Peruvian government announced it will establish a new and enormous national park in the Amazon.

Yaguas National Park, located in the northern region of Loreto, consists of 2,147,166 acres of rainforest, a vast river system and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, 500 species of birds and 160 species of mammals, including giant otters, woolly monkeys, Amazonian river dolphins and manatees. The park also features 550 fish species—one of the richest fish faunas in the world.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Molteno Dam Reservoir in Cape Town. Wikimedia Commons

Will Cape Town Become the First Major City to Run Out of Water?

Cape Town is on track to become the first major city in the world to run out of water.

The world-renowned tourist destination—and the second-most populous urban area in South Africa after Johannesburg—could approach "Day Zero," when most taps run dry, by April 21, Mayor Patricia de Lille said Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
The mountains of Haiti. PO2 Daniel Barker / DVIDS

Haiti’s Most Popular Ecotourism Destinations

The tropical Caribbean island of Haiti is a paradise with a rich, fascinating history, natural wonders and diverse cultural offerings. It has also been named by some as the next big thing in regional tourism.

But ecotourism in particular could become important for Haiti, with its rich land and sea biodiversity. Globally, the business of ecotourism generates more than $600 billion a year and is connected to hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
iStock

Nearly All Coastal Governors Denounce Plan to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

Politicians from coastal states around the country continue to call for their states to be exempt from the Trump administration's proposed expansion of offshore drilling following its politically-tinged decision last week to remove Florida from the plan.

The Interior Department said last week that Secretary Ryan Zinke had spoken with seven coastal governors opposed to drilling, including the governors of North and South Carolina, Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office told press Zinke would consider removing the state from the plan following their call, while California Gov. Jerry Brown's office reports that Zinke promised to travel to the state to further discuss the offshore leases.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Rob Hainer / IStock

In Alabama, a Cleanup Unearths Toxins—and Scandal

By Matt Smith

Lot by lot, backhoes and dump trucks are scraping and hauling away yards on the north side of Birmingham to remove soil laced with heavy metals and other industrial wastes—the legacy of this city's years as a steelmaking power.

Federal prosecutors say that effort also uncovered something else: a scheme to save polluters millions by putting the neighborhood's representative in Montgomery on their payroll.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!