This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.

Friday, June 12, 2015

American Medical Association blasts secret shale records, calls for public disclosure, expanded water monitoring

“If we don’t know what chemicals are being used at specific well sites,” Dr. Sack said, “physicians and public health officials can’t do their jobs. It’s a total hoax to say the public knows what’s going on if there isn’t full disclosure of all the chemicals used in fracking.” he went on to say.

The American Medical Association,** citing growing concerns about monitoring and tracking long-term human health impacts caused by shale gas development, is calling for the public disclosure of all chemicals used in the extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The new policy, adopted Tuesday by the nation’s largest physicians organization at its annual meeting in Chicago, states that in addition to requiring the chemical disclosures, monitoring “should focus on human exposure in well water and surface water and government agencies should share this information with physicians and the public.”

Most of the 25 states in the U.S. where shale gas drilling and development is occurring — including Pennsylvania, where drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations is booming — either don’t know or don’t publicly disclose all the chemicals used in fracking. “Keeping the names of the chemicals secret is preposterous,” said Todd Sack, a physician in Jacksonville, Fla., and author of the AMA’s policy. “It places an unreasonable burden on physicians. The AMA feels that if companies are going to be responsible petroleum and gas explorers and extractors, they need to disclose the chemicals they use and do better water testing. That’s not a radical position.

**hardly a bastion of liberal radicalism, the AMA...big conservative constituency. But as the ones who are dealing with the medical fallout from fracking - pun intended...there is radioactivity involved, after all - doctors want to know what has sickened their patients. Thanks to the Halliburton Loophole and paid-by-the-oil-and-gas-industry flacks like Tom Corbett and Ed Rendell, we are defenseless against the harms of fracking.

Yeah, let the corporations police themselves...right.