On the heels of a study linking natural gas fracking to increased asthma attacks, anti-fracking advocates plan to bring their cause to the Democratic National Convention on Sunday.
A coalition of environmental groups will stage a demonstration against fracking at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to ask Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who is the Democratic National Committee host committee honorary chairman, to stop fracking, which the organizations say is harming Pennsylvanians.
In the last 10 years, 9,000 natural gas wells using fracking as an extraction method—fracking requires the injection of water into the ground to release gas supplies—have been drilled in Pennsylvania.
A Johns Hopkins study published July 18 in JAMA Internal Medicine shows there are increased levels of asthma and more serious asthma attacks among people living near fracking operations. Other studies have linked fracking to premature births and at-risk pregnancies.
The study’s senior author, Dr. Brian S. Schwartz, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says, “We are concerned with the growing number of studies that have observed health effects associated with this industry. We believe it is time to take a more cautious approach to well development with an eye on environmental and public health impacts.”
“This study’s findings confirm what we have known for years—that fracking is an inherently hazardous process that threatens human health and safety every day. More than 17 million Americans live within a mile of a fracking site, and they are all at risk,” says Wenonah Hauter, founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch, one of the organizers of the demonstration.
“Despite countless dollars spent by the oil and gas industry in numerous attempts to sway public opinion, the truth is winning out. As recent polling proves, the more Americans hear about fracking, the more they oppose it,” she adds.
Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth and Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, says, “This Johns Hopkins study should be a wake-up call to Governor Wolf and [Pennsylvania] Physician General [Rachel] Levine that fracking is causing serious harm to Pennsylvania children and families. How can Governor Wolf sit idly by as study after study comes out revealing severe health impacts to his constituents as a result of his pro-fracking policies?”