As parents, we have the responsibility and moral obligation to protect our children from serious threats to their health and safety. This includes keeping their environment clean – you can’t raise a free-range kid if their air and water aren’t safe to breathe, drink, and enjoy.
That is why I’m joining the fight to ban the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” in my home state of Maryland and around the country. Fracking is a destructive practice that fossil fuel corporations use to extract oil and natural gas from deep below the surface of the Earth, polluting air, drinking water, and local waterways in the process.
Fracking involves drilling well almost two miles deep and shooting millions of gallons of water mixed with nearly 600 chemicals – including known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors – into the hole at high enough pressure to crack or “fracture” the bedrock and release the fuel. The pressure and fracturing can be strong enough to cause serious earthquakes!
The toxic fracking mixture used in this process releases toxins into the air and gets into the groundwater. Pollution from fracking has been shown to cause respiratory problems, heart problems, blood disorders, immunological problems, cancer, and nervous system impacts in drill workers and people living near drilling wells. Fracking endangers kids even before they’re born – babies born to women who live near fracking wells are more likely to have congenital heart defects and and be born prematurely and underweight. Housing prices drop in regions with fracking and businesses suffer – who wants to live next door to a dangerous, dirty well?? Fracking also releases methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas that is almost 100x more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming the planet. In terms of climate change, fracking for natural gas is worse than burning coal.
Over the past decade, almost two MILLION fracking wells have been drilled across the U.S., including nearly 150,000 in neighboring Pennsylvania and 110,000 in West Virginia. Tens of thousands of people, including many children, have been poisoned by these chemicals – and the companies are not liable! Thanks to a loophole put into the 2005 Energy Bill by Dick Cheney and his Halliburton cronies, fracking wells are EXEMPT from the environmental laws that we depend on to keep us safe, including, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Release Inventory (requires companies to tell the public what they’re dumping into the ground water and air) the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (makes polluters clean up their messes), the “Superfund” Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (gives the public the right to know about and comment on projects that could impact public health, safety of the environment). The ONLY reason fracking is an economically viable industry is because the fossil fuel companies don’t have to follow the rules – instead, they pass the terrible costs onto us!
We have a responsible to keep our children safe from this dangerous practice, to fight back against the corporations that endanger their heath and their future. The State of New York has already banned this dangerous practice and there are movements in many other affected states. Maryland has a moratorium on fracking, but it expires in 2017. Sadly, Governor Hogan is on record supporting fracking, so we must ACT NOW to make sure that this terror never comes to our state.
Join me – and help keep MD frack-free! Subscribe to this blog and like my Facebook page to learn how your can support the fight to protect our kids’ health & future.