Leading Scientists Sign Petition to Halt Shale Gas Fracking for Export
Updated: Aug 30
A petition created by the Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) was signed by over 100 leading medical and scientific experts urging the Obama Administration to stop shale gas fracking for export purposes. The petition is in response to 19 proposed large scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. The administration is considering fast tracking the permitting process for these terminals. If LNG terminals are allowed, the demand for fracking of shale gas would greatly increase.
The petition states that “There is a growing body of evidence that unconventional natural gas extraction from shale (‘fracking’) may be associated with adverse health risks through exposure to polluted air, water, and soil. Public health researchers and medical professionals question the continuation of current levels of fracking without a full scientific understanding of the health implications. The opening of LNG export facilities would serve to accelerate fracking in the United States in absence of sound scientific assessment, placing policy before health.”
The petition describes in detail six problems with LNG exports including the following:
Exports Will Jeopardize Our Environment and Public Health
Exports Threaten Energy Security
Exports Threaten Domestic Manufacturing
Exports Would Harm American Consumers
Creating the Infrastructure for LNG Exports Will Mis-allocate Valuable Resources
The Consumption of Shale Gas Will Exacerbate Climate Change
Seth B. Shonkoff, the executive director for PSE and an environmental researcher at the University of California, Berkeley says that “The question here is very simple: Why would the United States dramatically increase the use of an energy extraction method without first ensuring that the trade-off is not the health of Americans in exchange for the energy demands of foreign nations? Health professionals are coming together today to urge the White House to make sure that we have the facts prior to making this decision. The only prudent thing to do here is to conduct the needed research first”.
“Natural gas has been in these shale formations for millions of years; it isn’t going anywhere and will be around for future generations. Society especially owes it to those living in areas with both active and planned drilling to study the potential for harm (to the environment and to human and animal health) and to act to reduce those factors that are shown to increase the risk of disease and even death” says Madelon L. Finkel, PhD, a professor of clinical public health and director of the Office of Global Health Education at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
To read the brief written by PSE, click here.
To read the letter to the President and find a list of all who signed the petition, click here.