What does it mean to be 'surrounded' by the fracking industry and oil and gas development? Is it a few wells in your neighborhood? A compressor station in your town?
For Pam Judy and her family in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania it's all that and more.
As discussed in a case study of her experience with oil and gas development, the Judy family’s home is 0.21 miles away from the closest well and 0.16 miles away from the Cumberland/Henderson compressor station. Within one mile of their home there are 16 unconventional and 21 conventional wells.
Earthworks' most recent report, Blackout in the Gaspatch, examines how a lack of oil and gas industry oversight and enforcement leads to environmental and health impacts–ones that are experienced every day by people like Pam Judy and her family.
For years, Pam and her family have been living in the midst of oil and gas development and forced to deal with continual noise, traffic, odor, and light. But they're most concerned about their health.
Just a few of their well-documented health complaints include headaches, runny noses, sore throats, and muscle aches. Pam has had bouts of dizziness and vomiting, and her two children had frequent nosebleeds before they moved away.
By speaking out publicly and reaching out to local and federal officials Pam was able to get Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the state regulatory agency, to conduct air testing near her home. Results from those tests and ones conducted by Earthworks revealed chemicals associated with the kinds of health symptoms reported by the family. Pam's research also forced DEP to re-permit the compressor station with better emissions controls.
Yet DEP hasn’t made a connection between the rapid expansion of gas wells and facilities in the area and the ongoing complaints made by the Judy family and their neighbors. Find out more about the air quality and health effects of dense, ever-expanding gas development in our in-depth case study about the Judy family.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.