Letter of 250+ on Public Health Impacts of Shale Fracking

by Duane Nichols on June 18, 2014

'Moratorium' not yet approved by NY Senate

Medical professionals & researchers cite new anti-fracking evidence in letter to Gov. Cuomo

From an Article by Matthew McKibben, Legislative Gazette, May 29, 2014

A coalition of hundreds of medical experts and academic researchers has sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and acting Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker asking them to place a moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for up to five years.

The letter comes in response to the growth of “disconcerting” trends in the existing and emerging data on fracking, according to a statement issued by the coalition.

The letter states, “The totality of the science – which now encompasses hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and hundreds of additional reports and case examples – shows that permitting fracking in New York would pose significant threats to the air, water, health and safety of New Yorkers.”

Some of the groups signed on to the letter include the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Lung Association in New York; the Otsego County Medical Society; Tompkins County Medical Society; Center for Environmental Health; and David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.

The letter discusses trends in data that, according to the coalition, proves the state should take a leadership role in the nation by announcing a moratorium on fracking.

The letter points to recent studies that show the link between water contamination and fracking-related activities is now indisputable; that the structural integrity of wells can fail and failures become more common over time as wells age and cement and casings deteriorate; the disposal of fracking wastewater is causally linked to earthquakes and radioactive contamination of surface water; air quality impacts from fracking–related activities are clearer than ever; community and social impacts of fracking can be widespread, expensive, and deadly; and industry secrecy contributes to unsettled science

The coalition’s letter also notes that many additional studies are under way and it is critical to give those studies time to be completed for the full scope of the impacts of fracking to be understood.

“Given the lack of any evidence indicating that fracking can be done safely–and a wealth of evidence to the contrary–we consider a three to five year moratorium to be an appropriate time frame,” the letter states.

The letter is available online here: bit.ly/1kO3jFu

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