Residents on the frontlines of fracking share stories of illness, water contamination, and more
Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center
Raleigh, NC — As the future of fracking in North Carolina hangs in the balance, residents in Pennsylvania, where drillers are already running roughshod, recounted their stories of illness, water contamination, and damage to their livelihoods from fracking and drilling operations. Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center and the Frack Free NC Alliance released “Shalefield Stories” as the latest evidence that the controversial drilling practice should be kept far away from our water and communities.
“We’ve seen the environmental devastation of fracking add up across the country. But beneath the numbers are real people like Judy from Bradford County whose tap water became contaminated with barium and arsenic after the drillers started fracking on her land,” said Liz Kazal, field associate from Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. “These are their stories, and it is our responsibility to heed their words of warning on fracking.”
People recalling their experiences with fracking damage in “Shalefield Stories” include:
– Judy Armstrong Stiles of Bradford County, Pa., who spoke of the barium and arsenic that was found in her drinking water, and then in her blood, after Chesapeake Energy began drilling on her land; and
– June Chappel of Washington County, Pa., who lived with a 15 million gallon fracking waste pit just 200 feet from her house.
Mac Hulslander, landowner in Dimock, Pa. and North Carolina resident, said that he has seen firsthand the impacts that fracking has had on the community, and fears for what is in store in North Carolina if the governor and General Assembly allow it here.
“Within the little town of Dimock, 18 families have had their water wells contaminated,” said Hulslander. “I am here as a living testimony to these realities and to the fact that nowhere, not even with the Environmental Protection Agency, are we as citizens being adequately protected from the ravishes of this insidious industry—now or for the foreseeable future of our children. “
Individual residents in Pennsylvania compiled “Shalefield Stories;” however, their stories are unfortunately not unique. Colorado, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia all have experienced similar tragedies.
In light of the health impacts that fracking has had on communities across the country, a group of public health officials from North Carolina have raised concerns about bringing the drilling practice here.
“As medical and health professionals who work and live in North Carolina, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air is extremely concerned with current efforts to open up our state to drilling and fracking for natural gas,” said Gayatri Ankem, Triangle manager for Medical Advocates for Healthy Air. “Peer-reviewed research and government studies, including North Carolina’s own study completed and presented to the General Assembly in May 2012, point to the potential health risks of drilling and fracking. We need to focus on clean energy strategies for improving our economy and protecting public health.”
“Anyone who doubts the damage of dirty drilling, all they have to do is look north to the nightmare unfolding in Pennsylvania. We have known this truth for some time. But now we are hearing it from the source, from the very people living on the frontlines of fracking,” said Kazal. “We urge Governor Pat McCrory and leaders in the General Assembly to pass a permanent ban on fracking so we can ensure that North Carolinians can drink their water without fear of chemical contamination from this dirty drilling practice.”
Environment North Carolina is a state-based, citizen-supported, environmental advocacy organization, working towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.