Environmental Protection

Scientists Urge White House to Halt Shale Gas Fracking for Export

More than 100 medical and scientific exports have signed a petition, asking to stop expanded shale gas fracking for export purposes because of the potential harm it could cause Americans.

In order to approve new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, it would require “a rapid increase in fracking in the United States without credible science” and “could potentially cause undue harm to many Americans,” said the 107 experts who have signed the petition, which has recently been sent to the White House.

The petition has been created by Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE),and addresses the Obama Administration’s consideration of fast tracking of the permitting process for LNG export terminals. By allowing LNG terminals, fracking of shale gas in the U.S. would greatly increase in order to meet foreign demands.

According to the petition, “There is a growing body of evidence that unconventional natural gas extraction from shale (‘fracking’) may be associated with adverse health risks through exposure to polluted air, water, and soil. Public health researchers and medical professionals question the continuation of current levels of fracking without a full scientific understanding of the health implications. The opening of LNG export facilities would serve to accelerate fracking in the United States in absence of sound scientific assessment, placing policy before health.”

“The question here is very simple: Why would the United States dramatically increase the use of an energy extraction method without first ensuring that the trade-off is not the health of Americans in exchange for the energy demands of foreign nations? Health professionals are coming together today to urge the White House to make sure that we have the facts prior to making this decision. The only prudent thing to do here is to conduct the needed research first,” said Seth B. Shonkoff, executive director for PSE and environmental researcher, University of California, Berkeley.

Madelon L. Finkel, PhD, professor of clinical public health, and director of the Office of Global Health Education, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, said: “Natural gas has been in these shale formations for millions of years; it isn’t going anywhere and will be around for future generations. Society especially owes it to those living in areas with both active and planned drilling to study the potential for harm (to the environment and to human and animal health) and to act to reduce those factors that are shown to increase the risk of disease and even death.”

For more information or to see the full list of those who have signed the PSE petition, please click here.

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