Monday, March 26, 2012

HydroFracking News Briefs

For Pennsylvania's Doctors, a Gag Order on Fracking Chemicals
A new provision could forbid the state’s doctors from sharing information with patients exposed to toxic fracking solutions.
Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won't be able to share it with their patients. A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will "gag" doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public.

Possible health risk tied to ‘fracking’ emissions
"Emissions from the wells include methane and volatile organic compounds that react with heat and sunlight to form ozone," according to a health scientist who is studying air quality near gas wells in Texas.
Non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural- gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells,” according to a statement. “We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells.” 

New York environmental groups join to form coalition to work for hydrofracking ban
On Monday, a New York State Assembly proposal for an independent health impact study of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas was dropped during budget negotiations. Numerous physicians and environmental groups criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for blocking the $100,000 Assembly appropriation for a health study. 
Cuomo has said a decision on whether to permit fracking in New York is likely in several months.
Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and environmental writer who recently won the Heinz Award for her work on how chemical contaminants in air, water and food endanger human health, said she'll donate much of her $100,000 prize money to start the anti-fracking coalition, New Yorkers Against Fracking.

Niagara Falls City Council Safeguards Water Supply By Rita Yelda
Prevents Region from Becoming NY's Science Experiment
On March 5th, Niagara Falls went on record against fracking, and against treating wastewater from fracking.  Elected officials said they don't want the city that endured the Love Canal toxic waste crisis to be exposed to the fallout from gas drilling operations. The City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting natural gas extraction in Niagara Falls, as well as the "storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of natural gas exploration and production wastes."
It would have been irresponsible and dangerous for the Niagara Falls Water Board to move forward with this proposal, given all of the unanswered questions relating to our health, safety and environmental concerns.

Water Board won’t sue city on ‘fracking’ issue
The city’s Water Board on Thursday decided not to file a legal challenge against a city law banning treatment of water from hydraulic fracturing at its wastewater treatment plant. But it does not prevent a legal challenge to the law should the state this year set specific guidelines for treatment of the water.

Mark Ruffalo, the Incredible Hunk - Actor and Anti-Fracking Activist
When Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns into the rampaging green superhero known as the Incredible Hulk. The charming 44-year-old actor Mark Ruffalo, who portrays Banner in the upcoming film The Avengers, isn't quite so quick to act out. But his inner Hulk emerges when he talks about hydraulic fracturing, a technology whose advances have triggered a boom of gas drilling and environmental backlash in shale regions—including the part of upstate New York where Ruffalo relocated his family from Los Angeles about three years ago.

Look for Mark Ruffalo on The Colbert Report on Wednesday night at 11:30pm, or on TV re-runs Thursday, or online anytime after that. Ruffalo's group, Water Defense, is part of the NY coalition working for a fracking ban, described above.

Vigil held to protest hydrofracking 
Protesters gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Buffalo office of Senator Mark Grisanti, chair of the NY State Environmental Conservation Committee. They're hoping to pressure him to support a bill that would ban fracking in NY. Senator Grisanti's office tells WIVB News the senator still has not made up his mind about hydrofracking in NY. 

Gas Industry Spin Can't Cover Up Air Problems Associated with Fracking
At a Wall Street Journal conference last week, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon told attendees: “I don’t know of any problem with air pollution from fracking in Fort Worth” Texas.  McClendon peevishly referred to air pollution concerns raised by Hudson Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay [whom McClendon refused to share the stage with] as “environmental nonsense.”  Since then, industry-sponsored posts argue against links between fracking and air pollution. Well, read on. Then decide who’s spouting “nonsense”.


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