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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11 to 500 in less than 10 years...and no way to tell which are toxic...nice.

"In 2005, Pennsylvania had 11 frack water pits. Just eight years later, aerial maps show that number has jumped to 529. It’s unclear how many of these sites store fresh water used for fracking, and how many store the toxic wastewater that results from oil and gas drilling operations. The Department of Environmental Protection could not provide the data to public health researchers working with Geisenger on an NIH funded health impact study. So the researchers turned to the nonprofit data sleuths from SkyTruth, who have documented the impoundents with the help of USDA aerial imagery and citizen scientists from around the world. recently reported on how the project was initiated by public health researchers from Johns Hopkins:
Brian Schwartz, an environmental epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his colleagues have teamed up with Geisinger Health System, a health services organization in Pennsylvania, to analyze the digital medical records of more than 400,000 patients in the state in order to assess the impacts of fracking on neonatal and respiratory health. While the scientists will track where these people live, says Schwartz, state regulators cannot tell them where the active well pads and waste pits are located. Officials at Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) say that they have simply never compiled a comprehensive list."

Weaken the regulatory agency charged with monitoring at the outset of drilling, keep them underfunded while you drill, baby drill, and then rub your money-filled palms together and say "...ooops, no way to monitor if it's a health hazard...geez, imagine that...sorry, you poor suckers living near those frack pits...". (As my mother used to say, if that's what sorry looks like, how do you look when you're glad? And a cushy industry job undoubtedly awaits Mr. Corbett, friend of the polluters, who enabled this systematic fracking destruction.)