Alberta cattle rancher Howard Hawkwood has a beef with the local fracking industry. He’s convinced the controversial technique for gas extraction is responsible for killing off 18 of his cows and large swaths of his property near Airdrie, Alberta.
“These are the dead spots in the field, where my cows have urinated. This all showed up last spring…We’ve actually taken soil samples of the dead spot and a sample from a foot and a half away and we’ve got high levels of radon, barium, uranium, strontium, and magnesium is extremely high.”
The Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project was created in response to individuals’ and communities’ need for access to accurate, timely and trusted public health information and health services associated with natural gas extraction.
In Pensylvania, where new laws gag physicians from sharing information about fracking chemicals with their patients, the need for trusted health information is crucial.
SWPA-EHP provides an onsite nurse practitioner and also serves as a resource center for information on the potential routes of exposure from hazardous substances, as well as strategies for limiting the risk of health effects.
According to a Pro Publica investigation, in the three-year period examined, operators pumped oil and gas drilling waste into Class 2 injection wells at pressure levels they knew could fracture rock and lead to leaks more than 1,000 times. In at least 140 cases, companies injected waste illegally or without a permit.
According to ProPublica, “Injection wells have proliferated over the last 60 years, in large part because they are the cheapest, most expedient way to manage hundreds of billions of gallons of industrial waste generated in the U.S. each year. Yet the dangers of injection are well known: In accidents dating back to the 1960s, toxic materials have bubbled up to the surface or escaped, contaminating aquifers that store supplies of drinking water.”
A decision to drop legal action against a drilling company despite evidence that it polluted residents’ well water in Texas prompts outcry by more than 80 US organizations.
More than 80 organizations from 12 states and a New York state senator today called on the inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate a decision to drop legal action against a drilling company despite evidence that it had polluted residents’ well water near Fort Worth, Texas.
The organizations sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., asking him to broaden an ongoing investigation of a case that made national news last year when the EPA dropped an enforcement action against Range Resources Ltd. after earlier invoking rare emergency authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act. New York State Senator Tony Avella is sending a similar letter later today. Elkins began investigating the case after six U.S. senators asked him last June to determine whether EPA had followed proper procedures.
This peer reviewed study by Dr. Theo Colborn details the health risks related to air pollutants generated by natural gas operations. Researchers documented a range of volatile chemicals and correlated them with well site operations. They documented the presence of numbers of chemicals at levels which could have multiple health effects on adults as well as on prenatally exposed children. Many of the chemicals found in the air are endocrine disruptors.
US trade unions are concerned about silica exposures and other health hazards faced by workers in the hydraulic fracking industry. A letter from the AFL-CIO, United Mine Workers and United Steelworkers to top federal safety agencies highlights these concerns.
“If you work in the hydraulic fracturing industry—better known as “fracking”—you may be exposed to high levels of crystalline silica, putting you at risk of developing silicosis, lung cancer and other debilitating diseases” an article on the AFL-CIO website states.