New Research Confirms Fracking Is a Disaster for Human Health, but Will Colorado Lawmakers Listen?

by Cassady Craighill

July 22, 2016

You probably know fracking is bad for humans for many reasons. Now you can add its connection to increased asthma attacks to the list.

Methane Exposure Affects Breathing

Maryellen McConnell uses a respirator in and around her Washington County home several days each week because of methane poisoning.

© Les Stone / Greenpeace

A study released this week by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that people with asthma who live near active natural gas wells were 1.5 to four times more likely more likely to experience asthma attacks. This is in addition to previous research linking fracking to other serious health impacts, including low birth weights and skin and respiratory complications.

Even putting climate change and the environment aside for a moment, it’s increasingly clear that fracking affects human health in a horrendous way. Then, factoring back in fracking’s contributions to climate change — which according to the World Health Organization is an imminent threat to the human health — it’s a no-brainer.

From any angle, fracking is a disaster.

Pumpjack near Homes in Colorado

A pumpjack oil well near homes in Dacona, Weld County, Colorado. Photo by Les Stone / Greenpeace.

That’s why people in Colorado are putting their blood, sweat and tears into a dramatic fight with an oil and gas industry determined to frack beautiful Colorado to death.

In the few remaining days left to place initiatives on the ballot to protect Colorado from fracking, dedicated volunteers, moms, activists, students, and even former gas industry employees, are working day and night to collect enough signatures. The goal? Nearly 100,000 signatures for each initiative which would keep fracking far away from schools and empower people to limit or ban fracking in their communities.

Here’s the bottom line: the oil and gas industry in Colorado cares about profit alone and its is willing to sacrifice the health and safety of communities to advance its greed. More than 15 million Americans live within a mile of a well that has been drilled and fracked since 2000, meaning they are within a mile of hazardous health impacts, contaminated drinking water, and methane pollution.

Fracking is an imminent threat to human health, and each and every one of us should have the right to say no to fracking. The oil and gas industry is so determined to squash out the voices of the anti-fracking movement that it has already spent a colossal $25 million in Colorado over the past few years. It looks primed to dish out another $25 million to deprive people even the ability to vote on these initiatives in November.

 

Break Free Action in Colorado

Keep it in the ground activists blockaded a federal auction to lease public lands to fracking companies in Lakewood, Colorado in May 2016.

What is happening in Colorado is not a bunch of naive pollyannas with clipboards blindly fighting against corporate power (even if there might be some clipboards and there’s definitely some corporate power at play).

People in Colorado are fighting for the right to live a healthy life. They are fighting for the right to have their voices heard. They are fighting against an industry with limitless money and state politicians who allow themselves to be influenced by the bottom-line agenda of a corporation.

Local communities will bear the brunt of fracking operations in their neighborhoods and we will all feel the impacts of methane pollution from fracking wells in Colorado and across the country. People everywhere are waking up to the fact that fracking is not worth the risk — now we need our lawmakers to listen.

Support Coloradans in the fight against fracking! Find your friends in Colorado, then ask them to join the movement!

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

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