CALL TO ACTION As health professionals, we have an unique opportunity to play a powerful role in ensuring our leaders understand the consequences of fracking. Since 2007, the natural gas industry has expanded unconventional natural gas drilling, or “fracking”, across Pennsylvania at an alarming rate. With this development we’ve seen real health impacts for Pennsylvanians living near this industrialized process. As health care professionals concerned about the health and safety of the residents of our state we invite you to join us in calling on the state to put health first. Please join us in advocating for the health of Pennsylvanians. To protect the health of Pennsylvanians we call for the following:
A public health registry for healthcare professionals and affected individuals to report health impacts associated with fracking and other natural gas activities in Pennsylvania. This would include exposure history as well as symptoms and would not limit reports based on depth of the well.
Training of health professionals, including those employed by the PA DOH, regarding the health impacts of natural gas. The training would include proactive screening, assessment and exposure history, reporting, treatment, and referral.
Addressing the known public health risks: Banning open air waste pits. These pits hold toxic waste fluid from the “fracking” process. The fluids in the pits contain chemicals known to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, and are toxic to the human neurological system.
Remove the gag order from Act 13. The gag order prevents healthcare professionals from adequately addressing natural gas related exposures thus limiting providers from learning from each incident. Removal of the gag order would allow providers to practice more effectively and rely on evidence based practice.
Remove exemptions from key environmental laws Support federal legislation to close loopholes in the National Energy Policy Act of 2005 which exempted unconventional natural gas extraction from the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), & Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Consequently, the regulations that were meant to protect public health and the environment do not pertain to communities that are influenced by fracking.
Require a minimum setback of one mile for all fracking operations and associated infrastructure relative to schools, child care providers, hospitals and nursing care facilities.
The people of Pennsylvania deserve better! As the Commonwealth’s Health Care Professionals we must voice our concern for the health of our patients, our communities, and our families.