Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Mel Packer: Fighting the Frackers

On Nov 4, 2014, the town of Denton, TX, with 123,000 residents, situated in the middle of the Barnett Shale formation and one of the most heavily fracked areas of the nation, banned fracking by an overwhelming popular vote. This was despite the fracking industry putting up $700,000 to fight the ban and the residents committee only raising $75,000. Outspent ten to one, but still victorious, those residents are sick of being sick from the effects of fracking.

On the same day, Athens OH banned fracking, along with another county in CA.

On Oct 14, 2014, a new study was published in the Environmental Health Journal and covered by a story in National Geographic, hardly a questionable news source. David Carpenter, the study’s lead author and director of the University of Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment said in reference to fracking, “The implications for health effects are just enormous.”

Extensive air monitoring was done in 5 states, Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania for this study. In 40% of the samples taken, levels of the known carcinogens, including benzene and formaldehyde, were far above levels considered safe for even brief exposure.

In other recent studies:

  1. PA residents living less than 2/3 of a mile from fracking sites are more likely to suffer respiratory and skin problems.
  2. In Colorado, mothers with gas wells within 10 miles of home were 30% more likely to have newborns with congenital heart defects.
  3. In WV, 4 of 7 wells were found to expose nearby residents to unsafe levels of benzene, a known carcinogenic.
  4. In Pavillion, WY, 12,000 times the safe level of benzene were found in air samples.
  5. In Susquehanna County, PA, high and unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, were found in air samples in fracking areas.
  6. The just-published and alarming report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), written by the world’s top scientists, concludes that the fate of the world is at stake, and that if the amount of airborne pollution is not curtailed, there will be “severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems”.

This is science, not rumor, not propaganda, not the ravings of lunatic conspiracy theorists, but science. It cannot be disputed nor dismissed just because you don’t like the facts or because politicians and ad companies have been paid to lie to you.

These remarks were part of an address delivered on November 5, 2014 by Mel Packer to the Allegheny County Council as members prepared to vote to approve a contract with Range Resources to frack at Deer Lakes Park.

One comment on “Mel Packer: Fighting the Frackers

  1. Briget Shields
    November 6, 2014

    This was Mels statement for the county council to vote on whether to allow Consol Energy the mineral rights to the county Airport. Unfortunately, Deer Lakes Park has already been permitted to be drilled under. Worse yet, the council voted 9 yes 3 no to allow them to have the mineral rights to the county airport. It was another disappointing night in county council chambers.

    Like

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