Monday, December 31, 2012


If you are giving some thought to what Governor Cuomo is poised to loose upon New York State this winter, also please consider what you will do (send cookies, cakes, flowers, massage certificates, musicians) for the Governor if he draws upon the precautionary principle, shows a little backbone and waves bye-bye to this reckless, irresponsible industry. (Please don't fall for the specious suggestion that it's prudent to bring high-volume slick-water horizontal hydraulic fracturing* to but a handful counties in the state.)

From Sandra Steingraber's article (in 50 parts), "The Fracking of Rachel Carson," published in the September/October issue of Orion magazine.

12. Within the rumply state of Pennsylvania is a place called Triple Divide, where three adjacent springs feed the watersheds of three mighty rivers: the Allegheny (which flows west to the Mississippi River); the Susquehanna (which flows east to Chesapeake Bay); and the Genesee (which flows north to Lake Ontario).  . . . 

14. . . . only some of the frack water stays behind in the shale. The rest, now mixed with brine and radioactivity, shoots up to the surface with the gas. Finding a safe place to dispose of this toxic flowback is an unsolved problem. Sometimes, the waste from drilling is just dumped on the ground. That’s illegal, but it happens. Sometimes the waste is dumped down other holes. In 2010, 200,000 gallons were poured down an abandoned well on the edge of Allegheny National Forest. . . . 

26. April 2012 was a silent spring in Pennsylvania. Funds for a statewide heath registry—which would track illnesses in residents who live near drilling and fracking operations—were quietly removed from the state budget. At the same time, a new state law, Act 13, went into effect, which allows a physician in Pennsylvania access to proprietary chemical information for purposes of treating a possibly exposed patient—but only if he or she signs a confidentiality agreement. Confounded, Pennsylvania doctors began asking questions. Does that mean no contacting the public health department? What about talking to reporters or writing up case studies for the New England Journal of Medicine? Can a physician who signs the nondisclosure agreement (in order to treat a patient) and then issues an alert to the community at large (in order to fulfill an ethical obligation to prevent harm) be sued for breach of contract? . . . .

41. No comprehensive study on the human or animal health impacts of fracking has ever been conducted. . . . In cattle exposed to fracking fluid: stillborn calves, cleft palates, milk contamination, death.

42. In cats and dogs: seizures, stillbirths, fur loss, vomiting.

43. In humans: headaches, rashes, nosebleeds, vomiting.

46. In May 2012, Stephen Cleghorn, a farmer, scattered the ashes of his wife, Lucinda—who died of lung cancer—on their farm in Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, which is in Jefferson County. The ceremony was unusual. It included a press conference, during which Cleghorn announced that, with this deposition of ash, he was hereby consecrating his land and declaring it off-limits to fracking in perpetuity. . . . 

What I keep writing to Governor Cuomo is that is it better to deal with problems before they arise.

via Thalo 

*note to The New York Times: it would be better if the paper would call "fracking" by its full name.  

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