In a nutshell, it shows Pennsylvania has permitted well sites within two miles of more than 320 day care facilities, 67 schools and nine hospitals.
This is cause for concern because the state has a very recent history of well blowouts and water contamination that suggests proximity to drilling is a community health risk.
From PennEnvironment's press release:
Pennsylvania s vulnerable populations are often situated near Marcellus Shale gas extraction, which has had a track record of pollution, accidents and violations, according to a new PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center report, In the Shadow of the Marcellus Boom: How Shale Gas Extraction Puts Vulnerable Pennsylvanians at Risk.
The study shows that permitted well sites exist within two miles of more than 320 day care facilities, 67 schools and nine hospitals statewide.
Just weeks after a gas well blowout in Bradford County spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced flowback water and forced seven local families to be evacuated from their homes, our report shows that our most vulnerable populations across the state could be at risk to a similarly dangerous scenario, said Erika Staaf, clean water advocate for PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center. Whether it s air or water pollution, accidents or explosions, we ve seen that the effects of Marcellus Shale gas extraction don t necessarily end at the drilling pad s borders. We cannot put our most vulnerable populations at risk of these problems any longer.
Children are likely more vulnerable to the impacts of gas extraction because they are still developing. The sick and diseased, meanwhile, are more susceptible to health effects from pollution exposure.
I m like any other American parent who wants the best for their children. From the basics of water, food, healthcare, and a home, to the joys we had in our own childhood ice cold lemonade after a hot day of, climbing trees, playing hide and seek in the woods and building space ships to explore outer space, said Michelle Boyle, a nurse at Allegheny General Hospital and a parent of two daughters. For my own children I now worry if the woods that our children are playing hide and seek in will suddenly erupt in an explosion, like in Independence Township in Washington County, or like in Canton, Bradford County, where seven families had to be evacuated.
From Pittsburgh to Scranton, gas companies have drilled more than 3,000 wells in the Marcellus Shale and the state has issued permits for thousands more. During 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued permits to gas companies to drill or deepen nearly 3,450 additional wells. With the industry projecting on the order of 50,000 new wells over the next two decades, gas extraction activity is likely to move into even greater proximity to more vulnerable populations across the region.