The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Risks Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing Raises Human Rights Concerns
A new human rights report details for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation specific ways in which hydraulic fracturing threatens to compromise international human rights norms. Commissioned by Earthworks' Oil and Gas Accountability Project, the report evaluates the production process known as hydraulic fracturing in relation to widely accepted international human rights norms.
In invited testimony before the New York Senate Standing Committee on Conservation in Canandaigua, New York, Dec. 12, biologist, author and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber highlighted the report’s conclusion that:
Viewed in light of human rights standards, that the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing may raise liability concerns for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as the state considers whether and how to move ahead with large scale natural gas development.
The report, prepared by Environment and Human Rights Advisory, looks at a number of recent United Nations (U.N.) declarations and documents. One of these informs the U.N. Human Rights Council that the environmental damage caused by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas poses “a new threat to human rights.” And a recent U.N. Resolution states that "environmental damage can have negative implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights."
Despite claims of economic benefit, the report notes that hydraulic fracturing presents significant risks to local air quality, to ground and surface waters, to soils and ecosystems and to several dimensions of human health.
The report’s author, Dr. Thomas Kerns, finds that although the current state of knowledge about potential human health and environmental impacts of these airborne and waterborne contaminants, as well as of their mixtures and interactions, is poor, some fracking chemicals even now are known to be endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins and some have been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as probable or known carcinogens.
The report suggests that this points to a need for caution and for gathering further information before proceeding with licensing, especially since vulnerable and disadvantaged populations would be at even greater risk.
For more information, click here.
Earthworks is dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of irresponsible mineral and energy development while seeking sustainable solutions.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:
By Hector Chapa
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
But can these masks be effective?
By Carey Gillam
Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.
With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.
Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.
Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.