December 17, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contacts: Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 x 104
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, 610-678-7726
Diane Sipe, Marcellus Outreach Butler, 724-272-4539
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking Urges Wolf to Follow New York Model and Halt Fracking in PA
Coalition Criticizes Wolf for Industry-Heavy Environmental Protection Transition Team
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is calling on Governor-Elect Tom Wolf to follow New York State’s lead by halting fracking in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, after rigorous examination of the facts, Governor Cuomo’s administration banned fracking in the state. The decision comes just days after Governor-Elect Wolf announced an Environmental Protection transition team that includes the Marcellus Shale Coalition, CONSOL Energy, Aqua America, and others with ties to the industry. Missing from the list is every environmental advocacy organization that has studied, and in some cases contributed to, the science on fracking impacts since shale development began in the Commonwealth.
The lack of the longitudinal studies of the health effects of fracking on which public health officials rely contributed to the decision to ban the practice in New York. Howard Zucker, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health commended Cuomo for including health officials in the decision-making process. In Pennsylvania, Wolf did not include even one health professional studying the health effects of fracking in the Environmental Protection team.
“We congratulate everyone involved in the anti-fracking movement in New York for this historic victory. Unfortunately, their case was strengthened each time they pointed across the border to the latest spill, blowout, explosion, and regulatory failure here in Pennsylvania. Governor-Elect Wolf’s choices for his transition team and key administrative spots demonstrate that his plan is to continue the same failed policies on fracking, despite all the evidence that compelled New York to ban fracking,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth.
“When science and unbiased analysis are used to inform policy, as occurred yesterday in New York with Governor Cuomo’s Administration in their decision to ban fracking, people and our environment get the protection they need and rightly deserve. We call on Governor-Elect Wolf to reconsider his choices on his environmental team to include those who will bring scientific expertise and the unvarnished facts about the devastating impacts of fracking,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“While we celebrate that New York chooses to protect their state and its citizens against the ravages of fracking, we here in the shale fields of Butler County mourn that Pennsylvania lacks leaders with the wisdom and courage to put our state’s people and environment before industry profits, political campaign contributions and state revenue,” said Diane Sipe of Marcellus Outreach Butler.
“What sensible and encouraging news form New York State. They concluded from the research and no doubt from the impacts Pennsylvanian’s are suffering through that they are not willing to bear the same for their communities. I can only hope that Governor-Elect Wolf will realize that our energy policy cannot be at the expense of our environment, our health, and our quality of
life. PA must be the leader in green energy and healthy sustainable jobs immediately, all of our futures depend on this,” said Jenny Lisak of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air.
“New York looked at the facts and decided fracking was not safe. Governor-Elect Wolf needs to follow this example and halt fracking immediately, while we give the experts a chance to review the damage that has been done to our state,” said Sam Bernhardt, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch.
“While NY did due diligence in studying the negative impacts of toxic fracking, here in PA we have hundreds of tax paying citizens who have been without potable water for more than 5 years. Your team is an insult to the people who put you in office. It’s time for PA to have a leader that will protect the people instead of promoting an industry that is proven to be toxic to our children and generations that will follow. We need a leader that acknowledges the negative impacts before moving forward with more irreversible damage. It’s time to HALT fracking in PA before it’s too late,” said Briget Shields, Co-founder, Marcellus Protest/Friends of the Harmed.
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of organizations, institutions, and businesses, is urging Wolf to change course on fracking. New York’s decision came after a painstaking consideration of the facts. We believe Pennsylvanians deserve no less from their government.
Read Pennsylvanians Against Fracking’s letter to Governor-Elect Wolf below.
Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at paagainstfracking.org.
Pennsylvanians Letter to Governor-Elect Wolf
December 18, 2014
Governor-Elect Tom Wolf
100 South Broad Street, Suite 1500
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Dear Governor-Elect Wolf,
Yesterday, New York State banned fracking citing environmental and health concerns. Howard Zucker, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, referred to several recent studies on health impacts, but indicated that he came to his decision to reject fracking based on the lack of the longitudinal studies on which public health officials rely. He added that, lacking that evidence, he asked himself if, taking into consideration the available evidence, he would live near hydraulic fracturing or if he would allow his children to be exposed to it. His answer was no.
The decision comes just days after you announced the members of your transition team. We were disappointed to see the composition of your Environmental Protection team. Not one voice representing the organizations most active in studying and, in some cases, contributing to the avalanche of credible scientific evidence on fracking’s negative impacts is present. Not one voice advocating on behalf of Pennsylvanians already experiencing profound impacts of fracking is present. Instead, you populated the team with voices that will provide will provide you with a biased perspective and incomplete information.” Yesterday, Zucker commended Governor Cuomo for including the Department of Health in the decision about whether or not to allow fracking. Not one health professional studying impacts of fracking on Pennsylvanians was included on your Environmental Protection transition team. Considering that Gov. Corbett has not included the Pennsylvania Department of Health in the state’s policy decisions regarding fracking, the need for your administration to bring health impacts into policy decisions is even more important.
You campaigned on the idea of a fresh start, yet your polices on fracking to date have been a reiteration of policies pursued by former Governor Rendell. However, unlike your predecessors, you have the benefit of years of studies, government investigations, permit violation data, investigative journalism, anecdotal evidence and more to inform your policies regarding fracking. Transition team picks that include representatives of CONSOL Energy, Aqua America, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition indicate that you have seem to be turning a blind eye to the most important evidence at hand.
The people of Pennsylvania need a true “fresh start” on fracking. Fortunately, New York has provided us a model for doing just that: initiate a halt on fracking; consult the existing scientific evidence, investigate the health effects that are emerging in fracking communities, and do the studies that were never done before fracking came to Pennsylvania. We have included links below to two comprehensive documents out of New York this week that summarize the scientific, medical, and media findings on fracking and provide analysis of the peer-reviewed literature. New York’s decision came after a painstaking consideration of the facts. We believe Pennsylvanians deserve no less from their government.
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking
- Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy. Toward an understanding of the environmental and public health impacts of shale gas development: an analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, 2009-2014. December 2014. http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/site/view/1233
- Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction). December 2014. http://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/