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Aussie Doctors: Two-minute Video Overview of Gas Drilling Health Impacts

March 7, 2012
Candy, just a few days old. Goats have died in Texas and Pennsylvania due to fracking chemicals in the air (Texas) and water (Pennsylvania).

Candy, born February 4th at Paradise Gardens and Farm in Jefferson County, PA. She's just a few days old here. Photo: Stephen Cleghorn

This Australian media coverage, coming in at under two minutes, provides the most powerful overview yet for the new study, “Gas Drilling Impacts on Human and Animal Health,” just published in January by Bamberger and Oswald. All credit to Doctors for the Environment in Australia. Watch it here.

Bamberger and Oswald spent a year meticulously documenting animal and human illnesses, reproductive failures and animal deaths due to fracking (including more than 108 cows which died after drinking water contaminated by fracking) in 6 gas drilling states. They call for a halt on shale gas drilling until more data can be collected.

Given the industry’s overwhelming success in keeping their toxic secrets secret (using the Halliburton Loophole and non-disclosure clauses in lawsuits nationwide, as well as Pennsylvania’s new medical secrecy requirements in HB1950, the impact fee bill that’s now state law), that could be a while.

Animals’ suffering matters, farms and foodsheds feed us every day, and public health protection should be a bottom line issue everywhere. Let your elected officials know you support a moratorium on shale gas drilling, and check our “Take Action” tab tomorrow for a call to action to oppose billions of gallons of water withdrawals for fracking in the beautiful, endangered Susquehanna River Basin.

Why the cute goat pic? Candy, born a month ago to a healthy momma named Penny, is healthy now. But goats have died and had reproductive failures in Texas and Pennsylvania due to fracking chemicals in the air (Texas) and water (Pennsylvania). Paradise Gardens and Farm, on Paradise Road in Jefferson County, PA, where Candy and about 60 other baby goats have been born over the past month, is threatened by nearby fracking operations. The farmer, Stephen Cleghorn, does not have mineral rights to his land, which has been leased without his ability to say “no.” The other PA Paradise Road, in Bradford County, is already heavily contaminated with methane and toxic chemicals due to Chesapeake Energy fracking there. Chesapeake was fined $1.1 million for contaminating 17 families’ drinking water supplies in Bradford County, but that fine is less than 1% of CEO Aubrey McClendon’s salary. Tiny fines do nothing to protect our health; a moratorium will. Less frack, more healthy kids!

Note on language: We use the term “fracking” to refer to all the life-cycle processes necessary to drill for methane in shale using high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling. When we say “fracking” we include, but are not referring exclusively to, the few days during which poisoned water is pumped underground to break (fracture) 380 million year old rock using explosive force. Vertical drilling, chemical storage and mixing, waste storage, transportation and disposal, gas processing and storage, pipeline problems, accidents, and illegal dumping of toxic materials all have heavy impacts in this intensely destructive extraction process, which makes a few wealthy while prolonging dependence on methane, a climate-destroying, health-destroying fossil fuel. Hence the “fracking math” equation referred to by an Ohio protester photographed by the Washington Post: 1% rich, 99% sick.

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