Poisoning Pennsylvania

We had yet another ‘Stuck on Stupid’ moment this week when news emerged about the use of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and gas wells. Approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency!

This comes on the heels of past revelations about the ‘Wild West’ fracking activities we have witnessed firsthand here in our Washington County, Pennsylvania over the past 15- plus years. There is plenty of blame to go around from regulators, to industry, to apathetic citizens. Bending over for the frackers is an ongoing pandemic in the G.O.P. controlled political halls of Harrisburg. ‘Under the Dome’ as the saying goes. And yes, it’s the Republicans by a large majority, who continue to promote fracking, while working to ease environmental regulations surrounding fracking, despite all we have learned over the ensuing years.

An editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer this week, made several excellent points, beginning with this:

“For years, evidence has mounted that fracking is at least associated with adverse health effects, including a rare cancer cluster among children in Western Pennsylvania. Instead of stopping potentially risky activity, states like Pennsylvania that sit on gas-abundant shale formations have been commissioning studies and allowing drilling to continue. In other words, fracking has been declared safe until proven otherwise — at risk to Pennsylvanians and residents of other fracking-heavy states.” END QUOTE

As I’ve been saying for years, probably a decade by now, “THE FIX IS IN.”

The Philly.com editorial continues with this:

“The story of PFAS in fracking is about multibillion-dollar oil and gas corporations’ management having more sway over the EPA than the people it is intended to protect. That’s also largely the story of fracking in Pennsylvania. In 2019, Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report that blasted DEP for being too cozy with the oil and gas industry… At minimum, law should change to demand full disclosure of all chemicals used throughout the life cycle of a natural gas well.” END QUOTE

Industry watchdogs and the super- hero truthseekers at Public Herald reveal much more in a related essay with this:

“If you’ve missed the series from Public Herald on TENORM, it’s a massive amount of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in shale formations that’s unearthed by oil and gas operations, concentrated and “technically enhanced” which has gone under the radar since fracking took over the country in 2008. As you might imagine, and as Public Herald has uncovered in ten years of investigations, Pennsylvania has a love affair with the oil and gas industry. From buying politicians on both sides of the aisle to the revolving door of staffers who work inside both industry and the government, from open attacks on transparency and protections for the public to converting large swaths of forested public land for industrial use, from ripping prodigious amounts of freshwater out of the state’s water supplies to poisoning drinking water, from DEP being called out by Pennsylvania’s own Auditor and Attorney Generals for prioritizing its relationship with industry more than public health and safety, to unearthing mountains of radioactive waste – the evidence is in Pennsylvania’s actions.” END QUOTE

Meantime, in an alternate reality, we have Republican legislators like Daryl Metcalfe and Gene Yaw doing all they can to further ease the way for the oil and gas industry, while also working to kneecap Pennsylvania’s renewable energy future. Talk about ‘Stuck on Stupid!’

Bob

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