600+ Health Professionals from 47 states call on President Trump to protect communities from fracking

Last updated: 3/30/2017

To President Trump,

As doctors, nurses and others in the medical field, we urge swift action to address the harms of hydraulic fracturing. A growing body of evidence suggests our environment and health are put at risk from fracking; according to a recent review of over 500 fracking-related studies, the vast majority of studies conclude the drilling practice threatens our health, our clean air, and clean water.

Given the severity of fracking’s impacts, it is no surprise that opposition among the public has grown in the United States. Over 500 communities across the country have taken action to stop fracking, and a recent Gallup poll conducted in March of 2016 found that a majority of Americans now oppose the practice.

The full cycle of fracking operations uses vast quantities of chemicals known to harm human health, produce billions of gallons of toxic wastewater annually, and create health-threatening air pollution while emitting huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over the course of 20 years.

Threatening our drinking water – Across the country, fracking wastewater has leaked from wells or retention ponds putting drinking water at risk. In Pennsylvania, regulators confirmed at least 280 instances of well contamination from fracking since 2007.

Polluting our air – Air pollution from fracking contributes to the creation of smog, which reduces lung function among healthy people, triggers asthma attacks, and has been linked to increases in school absences and hospital visits. Other pollutants from fracking have been linked to cancer and other serious health effects.

Contributing to global warming – in 2014, bringing new fracked wells into production released at least 5.3 billion pounds of methane into the atmosphere, the equivalent of 22 coal-fired power plants. Recent studies suggest methane emissions from fracking are much higher than previously thought. In North Texas for example, emissions are at least 90 percent higher than government estimates.

Putting at risk our most vulnerable citizens – a recent report by Environment America Research & Policy Center found that there are over 650,000 children in nine states across the country that go to school within one mile of a fracked well. Additionally, there are 236 nursing care providers and 103 hospitals within the same distance. This is especially concerning considering children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to health risks, and research shows that people who live near fracking sites are at an increased risk of health problems.

In light of the foregoing, we urge this administration to acknowledge fracking’s risks to human health and take immediate steps to address its threats including:

Call for closing loopholes that exempt the fracking industry from key elements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act

Begin the transition away from fossil fuels by prohibiting new fracking on federal lands Finalize methane standards for new and existing fracking operations

Ultimately the only solution to this toxic health threat is to ban fracking entirely and accelerate our transition to 100% renewable energy, but the severity of fracking’s impacts make it a moral imperative to take fast action now to better protect our health, environment, and families living on fracking’s frontlines. 

Sincerely,

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