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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Concerning Zoning and Land Use Request to Allow Hydraulic Fracturing

~From this week's meeting in Middlesex Township, where they are also resisting fracking:

Report of David O. Carpenter, MD
Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany 
"Concerning Zoning and Land Use Request to Allow Hydraulic Fracturing in 90+ % of Middlesex Township''
14 January 2015

"As a public health physician and former Dean of the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, my research and activities are focused on attempts to prevent human disease, especially those diseases that are caused by exposure to environmental pollutants.  My publications and research studies have investigated human health hazards resulting from exposure to a variety of chemicals as well as radiation.  Many of these studies have investigated effects of exposure to organic chemicals, both those that are persistent in the environment and those that are more volatile, where inhalation is a major route of exposure.  I have extensive experience in the study of the effects of ionizing radiation on human health.  I have published more than 380 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and have edited six books and written a number of book chapters on various subjects.  In 2014, my colleagues and I published a report on the air concentrations of volatile organic compounds in five states, including Pennsylvania, near unconventional oil and gas sites and infrastructure, such as compressor stations.  It is based on these experiences that I have a basis to comment on the pending case regarding land use and zoning in Middlesex Township (Western PA).

(Nine pages of findings and details then follow.)

"Conclusions   For all of these reasons I conclude that a zoning ordinance that allows unconventional deep shale gas development to occur in over ninety percent (90%) of Middlesex Township, including in close proximity to schools and residences, is at the present time and with current technology not protective of the public health, safety and welfare.  Residents and those who regularly visit the Township for work or school will be vulnerable to exposures to chemicals in the air and water.  These chemicals will also get in food sources, especially those raised in local farms and gardens, and the exposure will result in increases in rates of cancer, nervous and respiratory system effects, as well as an overall reduction in the quality of life.  A similar conclusion was reached after extensive review by the New York State Department of Health (2014), which resulted in a decision to prohibit fracking throughout New York State.  Much more research is needed to improve the safety of unconventional deep shale gas extraction and perhaps someday technical advances will allow extraction of shale gas in a fashion that does not cause significant threats to human health.  However, that is not the case today.  For the sake of the health of the residents of Middlesex Township, especially its children, zoning a community so that unconventional deep shale gas development can occur within less than two miles of schools and close to significant residential development poses a particularly significant public health risk.''

We don't have to be The Example that other states (and countries) will point to in a few years - as they currently place protective, wait-and-see halts on drilling; good job, state of NY - saying: "Look what happened in Pennsylvania...we don't want to repeat that obvious mistake: a boom-bust, destructive industry."

The shale ain't goin' anywhere, people...slow the supervisors down. If they're in a rush, perhaps they have some explaining to do as to who is leaning on them to make this a frack zone. Perhaps undue influence is operating here in sleepy Ligonier Township? They work for us, their constituents, NOT the gas industry...although their public comments would argue otherwise. Call 'em out...remind them who they work for.

After it ruins your water, air and soil, fracking ruins tourism...and there goes Ligonier.