WV Host Farms Assists in Marcellus Public Health Studies

by S. Tom Bond on March 16, 2014

WV Route 18 CleanUp Team (Doddridge County Watershed Association)

Scientists study fracking diseases with WV Host Farms

Update from S. Tom Bond, Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV

On Thursday, March 13th,  a small group of scientists came to Doddridge County, which is being hit particularly hard by the fracking industry because of the high “natural gas liquids” content there. This visit was hosted by the WV Host Farms organization.

There are a range of complaints which appear near wells and compressor stations. They include asthma, nose bleed, disorientation, gastrointestinal problems, and other symptoms, and are presumed to be the result of gases leaked from facilities, evaporated liquids from fracking ponds, fumes from the trucks and other engines, road dust and silica sand, etc.

This time the group included graduate students as well as professors. They conducted interviews detailing the experiences of individuals and their previous health history. This will be taken back to the universities to be sorted and analyzed.

Numerous other interesting stories were heard in the waiting room. It seems old “stripper wells” which had low production are now becoming valuable, because of the increased production around Marcellus wells once they have been fracked. Children living in “man camps” have serious problems in school. They don’t live in one place long enough to complete a year’s work before moving, so their education comes in disjointed bits and pieces. Records from several previous schools are hard to acquire.

In one place in the county a company tried to put in a pipeline up a steep hillside by a major North-South road during the cold and deep freezing weather. The back fill liquefied and has slid down into the road, keeping a crew busy through the worst of the weather keeping the road open, with the road frequently closed off due to further sliding.

This is the second of three rounds of scientists coming to Doddridge this spring. The function of WV Host Farms is to provide food, lodging and access to positions where the fracking can be observed and tests taken. Land owners and their guests can, by law, go on their own property. Lack of access, as well as expense, has been a major problem for scientists because the industry generally will not provide access. [Many universities are deeply tied to fracking, because they have received funds from oil & gas companies; and,  if they want more money in the future, they want to have a “spotless” record.]

WV Host Farms is now active all over West Virginia and extends into several other states. There are a number of strong, enthusiastic leaders involved, so the number of and nature of the projects are constantly growing.

[A recent project of the Doddridge County Watershed Association involved cleaning up trash debris along WV Route 18 South of West Union, as shown in the photo above, which is an area that continues to receive extensive drilling, fracking, air and water pollution, road damages, land disturbances, etc.]


Stream Monitoring in Western Maryland: See a report on the recent project at the Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg (near Cumberland), Maryland, involving most of the school in water sampling and analysis just in case Marcellus drilling and fracking come into western Maryland.

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