The Dangers of Fracking from New York Friends of Clearwater
Energy Independence--With Environmental Costs [Slide Show]|
Commission Secretary DRBC PO Box 7360 25 State Police Drive West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360
RE: Health Hazards of Released Gases
Dear Commission Secretary,
I write to make comment about the DRBC Draft Natural Gas Development Regulations. It is well established that fracking liberates large quantities of methane, hydrogen sulfide, and radon.
Methane is an asphyxiant. At levels that can occur in association with natural gas drilling, especially within the confines of area homes, basements, and other walled-structures, asphyxiation by methane is a risk, especially as people sleep. Methane is also highly flammable, placing area residents at risk for fires and explosions.
Radon is a radioactive gas. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the world. Large quantities are regularly released in conjunction with the fracking process. In the Delaware River Basin, exceptionally high amounts are expected to be released.
Hydrogen sulfide is as toxic in many respects as hydrogen cyanide. High levels are commonly released during fracking. Acute inhalation causes olfactory paralysis, coughing, physical collapse, and respiratory failure; coma and death may result. Survivors of even one episode of high concentration inhalation are at increased risk for later development of dementia, hearing and vision problems, ADHD- like symptoms, slow speech, impaired short term memory, and difficulties with body movement and coordination.
Long term exposure to low levels, which ALL area residents will suffer, causes central nervous system toxicity, decreased lung function, anemia, increased risk for life-threatening clot formation, and a known and proven increased risk of death in those with pre-existing cardiovascular problems.
Unlike other US industries, natural gas drilling activities are exempt from the US Clean Air Act, and so gas drilling activities are free to cause these releases without restraint.
The DRBC has failed to adequately address how these gases that represent a serious health hazard will be monitored, and how persons who lose their health to these issues will be cared for or remunerated for healthcare costs.
1) the drillers must
be held responsible for alerting residents when releases of methane or hydrogen sulfide or radon are high enough to warrant evacuation
2) be responsible for temporary (or permanent) relocation costs during such evacuations
3) be required to have an independent contractor perform regular AIR monitoring (for methane, hydrogen sulfide, and radon) at the drill site and at multiple locations within a 5 mile radius
4) be required to report, to the DRBC and the public, the methane, hydrogen sulfide, and radon levels detected during the monitoring process
5) be required to permanently cease operations when detection methods identify methane or radon or hydrogen sulfide levels at concentrations high enough to cause serious injury to humans, permanent injury to humans, or death to humans
6) be required to temporarily halt operations, and report the results to the DRBC and the public, when levels of methane, or hydrogen sulfide, or radon are detected to be high enough to cause symptoms, but not necessarily high enough to cause serious human harm, permanent harm, or death
7) be required to remunerate the citizens of the Delaware River Basin for any and all air-quality related health costs the residents will suffer
8) be required to establish a fund in escrow to cover healthcare costs expected to occur in the decades to come (even after the drilling operations cease), since much later long-term effects are expected with the indisputable exposures to hydrogen sulfide and radon that will occur with any area fracking
Thank you for your serious consideration of these matters.
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