Residents of Ohio need to take note…let’s learn from the devastation the residents of Pennsylvania have expeienced due to drilling and fracking in their neighborhoods. Ohio is not exempt from this.
“People we met in Pennsylvania were desperate to tell their stories to New Yorkers, to warn them about what’s coming,” says Patti Wood, executive director of Grassroots Environmental Education who produced the spots. “There are still people out there who think this is about money and jobs. They have no concept of how fracking can tear families and communities apart. We felt is was only fair that New Yorkers hear it from people who are living through it.”
(November 6, 2012, Broadview Heights, OH) Today, with a presidential election and a historic City Charter Amendment (Issue 29) before them, voters in Broadview Heights, Ohio came out in record numbers to say overwhelmingly YES (YES 6190 – NO 3176) to adoption of a Community Bill of Rights banning corporations from conducting new gas and oil drilling and related activities in their City. A similar Charter Amendment was also adopted by voters in Mansfield, Ohio by a wide margin. It also adds a Community Bill of Rights to the City Charter and prohibits injection wells without written City approval.
The Broadview Heights charter amendment was drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) at the invitation of the community group Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhoods (MADION), a group of citizens concerned about the potential effects of gas and oil drilling on their families and the environment.
Broadview Heights is the first municipality in the state of Ohio to not only include a local Bill of Rights in the City Charter, but to protect those rights by prohibiting all new gas and oil drilling, fracking and injection wells.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection produces incomplete lab reports and uses them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents.”
“In her deposition, Ms. Upadhyay said the DEP’s laboratory tests water samples for a full battery of contaminants but — at the direction of the department’s Office of Oil and Gas Management — limits the number of contaminants reported to the property owner. The omissions include heavy metals, including lithium, cobalt, chromium, boron and titanium, some of which are human carcinogens or toxics, as well as volatile organic compounds that are associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids.’
“Those metals, found in the 450-million-year-old shale layer a mile or more underneath most of Pennsylvania, are “marker” Marcellus contaminants that should be part of any well water testing, said John Smith, an attorney with Smith Butz, a firm representing eight people in the Washington County case against Range Resources and 12 of its subcontractors. The plaintiffs claim they face serious health problems and increased cancer risk due to exposure to toxic chemicals in their air and well water near Range’s Yeager drill site in Amwell.”
“This issue is a small step towards telling the state’s elected officials that there is no place for urban oil and gas drilling. It decreases property values, it creates a potentially unsafe environment for residents and as we have seen in this city and others it divides the community.”
For these reasons we feel voters should vote YES on Issue 29,Sun Star Courier, October 25, 2012
The largest health survey to-date of Marcellus Shale residents living near oil and gas development shows a clear pattern of negative health impacts associated with living near gas facilities. Titled Gas Patch Roulette: How Shale Gas Development Risks Public Health in Pennsylvania, the project surveyed 108 residents in 14 Pennsylvania counties, and conducted air and water tests at more than half of the households were surveys were completed.
Gas Patch Roulette’s main conclusions are:
•Chemicals associated with oil and gas development are present in communities where development occurs.
•Residents in these communities report that after gas development began, they developed new health problems—many of which are known consequences of exposure to these chemicals.
Other findings of the report include:
•Those living closer to gas facilities report higher rates of impaired health.
•Children living near gas development reported negative health impacts that seem atypical in the young.
•Chemicals detected by air and water sampling have been associated by state and federal agencies with both oil and gas development and with many of the health symptoms reported in the surveys.
“The clear association between gas development and public health impacts revealed by this research demands that states stop ignoring the problem and start developing the standards necessary to protect the public,” said President of Subra Company and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Wilma Subra. She continued, “It’s clear that nationwide, because of regulatory inaction and a lack of corporate accountability, states are playing roulette with public health.”
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO)—an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress—concludes that fracking poses serious risks to health and the environment.The report, which reviewed studies from state agencies overseeing fracking as well as scientific reports, found that the extent of the risks has not yet been fully quantified and that there are many unanswered questions and a lack of scientific data.
Major reports and studies were also released in Europe the past two months, all of which came to the conclusion that fracking poses serious risks to water, public health, and the environment, and that additional scientific study is necessary.
Given the conclusions from the broad NY, U.S., and world-wide scientific and medical community that fracking poses serious public health and environmental risks and needs further scientific study, the gas industry and the Joint Landowners Coalition’s rush to frack is dangerously reckless and irresponsible.
A retest of water in Pavillion, Wyoming, found evidence of many of the same gases and compounds the Environmental Protection Agency used to link contamination there to hydraulic fracturing, the first finding of that kind.
A U.S. Geological Survey report on its water testing of one monitoring well near the rural Wyoming town — where some residents complain that gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing contaminated their drinking supplies — identified levels of methane, ethane, diesel compounds and phenol, which the EPA had also identified in its report last year.
Environment America Research & Policy Center released their report, The Costs of Fracking, to inform the public about the millions of dollars of health costs related to everything from air pollution to ruined roads to contaminated property.
“Fracking’s environmental damage is bad enough, but it turns out that this dirty drilling imposes heavy dollar and cents costs as well,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America Research & Policy Center and a co-author of the report. “And in many cases, the public will be left holding the bag for those costs.” Full article…
Quotes from The Costs of Fracking Report
“Finally, farmers engaged in organic agriculture have raised concerns that fracking could make it more difficult for them to sell their products to health-conscious consumers. One New York City food coop, for example, has already stated that they may stop purchasing agricultural products from New York state farms in areas where fracking takes place.”
“Inadequate financial assurance. The boom-bust cycle typical of the oil and gas industry means that many firms (or their subcontractors) may be unable or unwilling to fulfill their financial obligations to properly plug wells, reclaim land, remediate environmental problems, and compensate those harmed by their activities. State bonding requirements are intended to protect the public by ensuring that financial resources exist to cover the cost of well plugging and reclamation, but the amounts of those bonds are generally too low to pay for proper well closure, and state laws generally do not require drillers to obtain bonds to cover the cost of off-site environmental remediation or compensation to victims.”
When it comes to exposure to hazardous chemicals, children are not just little adults. “Children are more vulnerable to environmental hazards,” states the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, a subcommittee of the American Pediatric Society. “They eat, drink and breathe more than adults on a pound for pound basis.” This means children are proportionally more exposed to toxins in air, water and food.
In areas of unconventional gas development, children are exposed to multiple industrial toxins, through air, and potentially through water and soil. Yet children’s health remains one of the many unexamined issues of this contentious industry.
Broadview Heights residents will have a chance in November to say whether they want more oil and gas wells in their city.
But even if they oppose new drilling, it’s not clear whether they can actually prevent it from happening.