Poor in Pennsylvania? You’re fracked. — Environmental Health News

May 7th, 2015 by | 0

photo credit Elias Schewel/flickr

Pennsylvania is a colony of the natural gas industry. Truck traffic was so loud in turkey season last May, I couldn’t hear the woods. Lax regulation has allowed the industry to mine water that is then polluted by fracking, and the produced water is returned to the environment. The roads are clogged with trucks serving the well pads. I couldn’t see the stars on a clear New Year’s Eve because the night sky glows with light from the pads. The natural gas industry is not paying enough for the extraction of our resources and the destruction of our forests and water.

Fracking wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region are disproportionately located in poor rural communities, which bear the brunt of associated pollution, according to a new study.

The study bolsters concerns that poor people are more likely to deal with hydraulic fracturing in their community and raises concerns that such vulnerable populations will suffer the potential health impacts of air and water pollution associated with pulling gas from the ground.

“This trend is not one we’re surprised by, we see this in a lot of industries,” said Mike Ewall, founder and director of Energy Justice Network, a nonprofit organization that works with U.S. communities dealing with pollution from energy.However industry groups say hydraulic fracturing is in rural farming regions of Pennsylvania out of necessity and is providing some much needed economic stimulus.

Researchers from Clark University mapped areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to identify areas with a lot of Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing wells and then examined some local demographics: age, poverty and education levels, and race.

Source: Poor in Pennsylvania? You’re fracked. — Environmental Health News


I've been an investigative reporter for more than 40 years and taught journalism at the college level for another 10. I've owned and trained retrievers, pointers and spaniels for about the same amount of time. My love of the outdoors and interest in cooking, eating and libations has been life-long, starting on my family's farm in Indiana and the hearty home-cooked meals there.

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