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“Fracking”, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting highly pressurized liquid into subterranean rocks to extract oil or gas. Researchers, environmental advocates and Pennsylvania residents have expressed concerns regarding the potentially harmful effects of fracking on water, air and public health. One group recently protested fracking outside a fundraiser for Governor Tom Wolf, claiming that the Governor has turned his back on people who have suffered from unconventional natural gas development.
Fracking can cause chemicals, gas, and naturally-occurring pollutants to travel through cracks in the rock to underground drinking water sources, thereby contaminating the water. The fracking process also releases toxic chemicals that can pollute the air. While many potential health risks are still being studied, research on workers at fracking sites has revealed multiple fracturing-related health risks.
There have been over 300 cases in which private water supplies have been contaminated and there have been over 200 complaints related to the Marcellus shale industry. There were also 9,442 complaints regarding environmental problems from 2004 to 2016, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Opponents complain that the Governor has not held the oil and gas industry accountable for the illnesses and contamination caused by fracking. Some suggest implementing changes to state policy to allow public health researchers access to more information about individuals who claim to have been impacted by fracking and provide more help for those people. The Governor’s spokesperson argues that Wolf has taken a balanced approach, one that took into consideration the views of stakeholders on both sides of the issue. He created a public health registry to house complaints from people who claim to have been harmed by Marcellus shale development.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, there are currently 52,000 people working in the fracking industry. Those living near well pads may suffer health problems from emissions, and according to recent National Institutes of Health studies, people living near fracking sites have increased rates of hospitalization, asthma, premature births and headaches. Anyone suffering from exposure to toxic chemicals should contact a qualified environmental lawyer who can explain their legal options.
If you or a loved one has become ill due to toxic exposure, contact an experienced Pennsylvania environmental lawyer at Williams Cedar. We will fight for your right to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and other losses you have suffered. From our offices in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we proudly represent clients nationwide. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-557-0099 or at 856-874-7500.