Fracking by the Numbers: New Report from PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center Quantifies Damage Done by Gas Drilling

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Lina Blount


Contact: Lina Blount, 215-732-5897 Ext. 3, [email protected]

Fracking by the Numbers: New Report from PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center Quantifies Damage Done by Gas Drilling
Philadelphia, PA —As Pennsylvania weighs the introduction of new legislation to press “pause” on new fracking in the state, a new report charges that gas development around the U.S. has already created 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater – enough to cover the city of Philadelphia with over 9 feet of toxic waste water. The PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center report “Fracking by the Numbers” reassesses the footprint of fracking in Pennsylvania and around the country to date.

“The numbers don’t lie— fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment. If fracking continues unchecked, these numbers will only get more dire,” said Lina Blount, Field Associate from PennEnvironment. “At the very least fracking should be regulated under our existing hazardous waste laws, and kept from despoiling our beautiful parks, like Loyalsock State Forest.”

“Health care providers in shale communities have seen multiple patients, residents and workers, with sinus problems, rashes and other symptoms that may be linked to air and water pollution,” said Poune Saberi, M.D., M.P.H. at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “With 1.2 billion gallons of toxic waste and rising, we’re just seeing the ‘tip of the iceberg’ on the health threats of operations involved in hydro-fracturing here in Pennsylvania.

In addition, the “Fracking by the Numbers” report measured other key indicators of fracking threats in Pennsylvania, including 1.2 billion gallons of wastewater and 26,830 tons of air pollution produced in 2012, and since 2005, 30 billion gallons of fresh water used, 33,000 acres of land degraded, and 8.3 million tons of global warming pollution.

“The report’s data on water and air pollution comes as Pennsylvania considers newly introduced legislation meant to halt the reckless expansion of this industry.
Next to the new numbers in today’s report, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center added one more: the more than 100,000 names on a petition the group submitted to Gov. Tom Corbett calling for an end to dangerous drilling until it could be proven safe.

“The bottom line is this: the numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said Lina Blount. “For public health and our environment, we need to put a stop to fracking.”

In Pennsylvania, polling shows that nearly two-thirds of respondents support a moratorium on drilling in Pennsylvania, and nearly 60 percent agree fracking poses a major risk to water resources. New bills calling for a moratorium and additional regulations on the gas industry have been slow to gain momentum in the state legislature.

On the federal level, last month the Obama administration received more than a million comments urging much stronger protections from fracking for national forests and national parks. In addition, a new push has come to close the loophole exempting oil and gas waste from the nation’s hazardous waste law.

“The data from today’s report shows that Harrisburg has not protecting us from this dirty drilling,” said Lina Blount. “It’s time for Washington to step in; they can start by keeping fracking out of our forests and closing the loophole exempting toxic fracking waste from our nation’s hazardous waste law.”

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a state-based, environmental organization working towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.