Republicans Love Fracking

A group of environmental reporters, recently polled Pennsylvania legislators, for their reactions on the results of some disturbing health studies, both past and present, regarding those citizens who live in close proximity to unconventional oil and gas well drilling and fracking, primarily in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The results were not surprising to me, as a decade of experience has clearly shown me how many Pennsylvania politicians, by an overwhelming majority Republicans – who also control both bodies of our state legislature – are ALL IN with drilling and fracking. Those who try to say it’s not a partisan issue, don’t read the news, or track political contributions.

Yesterday, Environmental Health News, published the story, WHAT DO POLITICIANS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ‘FRACTURED’ – Here are the responses we’ve gotten so far from politicians about our study that found Pennsylvania families living near fracking wells are being exposed to high levels of harmful industrial chemicals.”

The May 12, 2021 story continues, “E.H.N. conducted a two-year study that found Pennsylvania families living near fracking wells are being exposed to high levels of harmful industrial chemicals. Our findings are documented in the four-part series Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking. A few weeks after the series was published, a group of 34 lawmakers from the state House and Senate issued a public letter to Governor Tom Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Health Alison Beam, and Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell calling on them to take action in response to our findings. “[The findings] are alarming in terms of the effects on the long-term health and safety of these residents,” the lawmakers wrote. “Does this administration believe it has adequately protected Pennsylvanians from the harms of fracking? Does this administration honestly believe that fracking is safe for our families? The people of Pennsylvania deserve answers to these questions.” The full letter is available here.”

As I scrolled down the list of local politicians in the E.H.N. story, sadly, actually tragically, there were no surprises, at any level, of county, state or federal government officials:

U.S. SENATOR PAT TOOMEY (R) – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE BUD COOK (R) – DISTRICT 49 – WASHINGTON AND FAYETTE COUNTIES – “Declined to comment.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOSH KAIL (R) – DISTRICT 15 – BEAVER AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE JASON ORTITAY (R) – DISTRICT 46 – ALLEGHENY AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment; press contact Tracy Polovick hung up on an EHN reporting intern during more than one follow-up phone call.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE TIMOTHY J. O’NEAL (R) – DISTRICT 48 – WASHINGTON COUNTY – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment; press contact Tracy Polovick hung up on an EHN reporting intern who called to follow up on more than one occasion.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE PAM SNYDER (D) – DISTRICT 50 – GREENE, FAYETTE AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL J. PUSKARIC (R) – DISTRICT 39 – WASHINGTON AND ALLEGHENY COUNTIES – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment.”

STATE REPRESENTATIVE NATALIE MIHALEK (R) – DISTRICT 40 – ALLEGHENY AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES – “Failed to respond to numerous requests for comment.”

STATE SENATOR CAMERA BARTOLOTTA (R) – 43RD DISTRICT – GREENE, BEAVER AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES – “”Peer-reviewed research published by well-respected scientific journals for decades paint a much different picture than EHN’s two-year report… In November, Bartolotta was among the group of 12 Pennsylvania Senate Republicans who met with Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump to brainstorm ways of overturning the results of the state’s presidential election. She has also accepted campaign funds from numerous fracking companies and profited personally by leasing her own mineral rights…” READ MORE

WASHINGTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER NICK SHERMAN (R) – “Declined to comment. According to his administrative assistant, “Sherman doesn’t want to speak on it because he doesn’t think he could have as much influence on the subject as a County Commissioner.”

WASHINGTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER LARRY MAGGI (D) – “”I’ve been to some of those meetings with these families who had children exposed to chemicals and I know it’s frustrating. I have seven grandchildren that live here in Washington County. I’m at my daughter’s house right now and I can see a well from where I’m sitting. It does concern me.” READ MORE

WASHINGTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER DIANA VAUGHAN IREY (R) – “Declined to comment.”

Far too many Pennsylvania politicians, Republican or Democrat, have forgotten, or totally ignored, the oath of office they took, as we see written in the CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENSYLVANIA:

Article 1. DECLARATION OF RIGHTS. Natural Resources and Public Estate. Section 27. The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

Something that the Environmental Health News story also clearly demonstrated, and something we have noticed over the years, is that it’s largely a majority of Republicans, who are ALL IN on fracking. To wit, ten of the twelve politicians listed above, with ties to our Washington County, are Republicans. Eight of ten either failed to respond, or declined to comment, so those Republicans really don’t deserve your vote, next election day.

In fact, over recent days, weeks, months and years, Republican leaders at the state level, in particular, ones like Gene Yaw and Daryl Metcalfe, have gone even further, by trying to kneecap renewable energy like solar, while short circuiting ongoing environmental efforts to clean-up Pennsylvania’s air. They have their heads in the sand when it comes to climate change, and the adverse effects it has already had on our Commonwealth. Vote them out!

Is the glass half full or half empty?

In Washington County, it’s overflowing with fracking fluid, while our county landfill continues taking thousands of tons of low level radioactive waste, containing Radium 226, from unconventional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, as detailed in an alarming series of articles by Public Herald here and here.

Here’s a fracking slideshow, including some Washington County Pennsylvania lowlights, over the past 15 years:
Bob
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