As parents, we have the responsibility and moral obligation to protect our children from true threats to their health and safety, and to prepare them for the future as best we can. That is why I’m joining the fight to ban the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “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. Fracking pollutes the air, drinking water, and local waterways, and threatens our kids’ health and safety – you can’t be a free-range kid if your air and water are too polluted to breathe, drink, and enjoy!
Fracking involves drilling a well almost two miles deep and injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with nearly 600 chemicals – including known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors – at high enough pressure to crack or “fracture” the bedrock and release the fossil fuel. The fracturing can be strong enough to cause serious earthquakes!
In the process of drilling and extracting, the toxic fracking mixture releases toxins into the air and gets into the groundwater. Pollution from fracking has been shown to cause respiratory 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.
Fracking also releases methane into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas that is almost one hundred times (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. These wells use almost six hundred different chemicals, many of which are known contaminate drinking water and pollute the air. 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 is EXEMPT from the environmental laws that we depend on to keep us safe.
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, so we must act now to make sure that this terror never comes to our state.
Join me – and help keep MD frack-free!