The recent study on pollution from fracking exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for safety (“Study: Pollutant Levels High in Ohio Area With Fracking,” May 25) is the most recent addition to the ever-growing list of studies suggesting that shale gas infrastructure harms our health and environment.
In April alone a study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggested that oil and gas drilling is increasing indoor radon levels, and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection reported that volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions rates have increased across Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry. Last fall, DEP released information on more than 240 cases of private water supply contamination from oil and gas drilling.
Our leaders are long overdue to address gas industry pollution that has been linked by independent studies to asthma, heart disease, endocrine disruption, cancer and birth defects. But these public health impacts are not the only reason for alarm.
Air pollution leaking from shale gas infrastructure is accompanied by methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 20 years. Methane accelerates climate change, and the legacy of climate change for our children and grandchildren will be an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
Allowing the industry to continue polluting at such rates is irresponsible. The people’s right to clean air and pure water is guaranteed by the Pennsylvania Constitution, and we need our leaders to protect that right. Pennsylvania must adopt best-in-the-nation regulations for air pollution leaks from shale gas infrastructure.