Medical Society Resolutions re Gas Drilling and Hydrofracking
The Broome County Medical Society Board of Directors endorsed resolutions from the Tompkins County Society and the Otsego County Society urging continued study on the impacts of unconventional gas drilling and hydrofracking.
The Board of Directors of the Broome County Medical Society, at their regularly scheduled meeting on August 25, 2010, voted to endorse the attached documents from the Tompkins County Medical Society and the Otsego County Medical Society which support a moratorium to natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until completion of the Environmental Protection Agency study to evaluate its effects on human health and the environment.
Cynthia S. Burger, CAE
Moratorium on Drilling in the Marcellus Shale Gas Field
Whereas, As physicians we believe in the principle of Primum non nocere, First, do no harm; and
Whereas, As physicians of Tompkins County, we care first and foremost about the health of our community and believe that when an activity raises potential harm to human health, precautionary measures should be taken until cause and effect relationships are fully established scientifically, and
Whereas, The exploitation of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale Gas Field involves high-pressure injection of over 200 billion gallons of water and billions of gallons of water-soluble chemicals into the shale formations to allow the release of natural gas, and
Whereas, Backflow from this process contains heavy metals, radioactive materials and volatile organic compounds, and the effects of this process on human health have not been subject to rigorous medical research, and
Whereas, The review reported by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement contains no high quality medical data, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Tompkins County Medical Society in Ithaca, New York supports a moratorium to natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until completion of the recently announced Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study to evaluate its effects on human health and the environment, and be it further
RESOLVED, that this resolution be sent to the appropriate state elected representatives, local media and other interested parties.
Approved unanimously at the Tompkins County Medical Society Annual Meeting on June 11, 2010.
July 13, 2010
The over two hundred members of the Otsego County Medical Society are greatly concerned about the public health and environmental effects of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation. The natural gas present in this formation is very deep and requires different technologies (hydrofracking) than has been used in the past to access pockets and reservoirs of the gas. As we have unfortunately seen with the Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion, very deep drilling comes with many logistical problems when disasters occur.
The geology of central New York State is very different from the areas where hydrofracking has been used before. As physicians committed to keeping and restoring the health of our citizens, we fear that the chemicals used in the hydrofracking processes plus the release of the many toxic compounds currently locked within our geological strata will have unexpected and hard to remedy consequences for groundwater contamination and air pollution.
Clearly, much more study needs to be done before we can be certain that this process can be done safely. We support the study that the federal Environmental Protection Agency has undertaken to evaluate the effects of natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing on human health and the environment and we support a moratorium in New York State until the EPA study is completed and reported.
Nancy B. Merrell, MD
Otsego County Medical Society
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