Last night New York State released a final draft of the section of the budget that should have included a Health Impact Assessment Study on fracking, but despite the study’s inclusion in the budget submitted by the Assembly, it was absent from the final version.
This flagrant omission prompts us to ask the question, “Does the Governor really care about our health?”
These actions are particularly egregious in light of the medical evidence that is coming out warning about the dangers of fracking. Just last week researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health reported the results of a 3-year study that shows that air pollution caused by fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites.
Researchers found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near gas wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. The report calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to wells as compared to those residing further away. Benzene has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen.
Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, the lead author of the study and a research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health said, “Our data shows that it is important to include air pollution in the national dialogue on natural gas development that has focused largely on water exposures to hydraulic fracturing.” She cited the need for additional studies to also examine the toxicity of other hydrocarbons associated with natural gas development.
Catskill Mountainkeeper and our coalition partners have organized a call-in day on Wednesday, March 28th to tell the Governor that he needs to do his job to protect our health and the health of our communities.
Please call, have the members of your family, your friends and colleagues call and tell Governor Cuomo to reinstate the Health Impact Assessment Study of Gas Drilling into the State budget and call for a statewide BAN on fracking.
On Wednesday, please call 866-584-6799.