• Ban fracking to preserve liberty
    April 17,2012
     

    Ban fracking to preserve liberty

    Essential to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness are clean air and clean water. With really polluted air or water we lose life itself, but even with poor air and water, we compromise our individual right to liberty and happiness.

    In Pennsylvania, hydro-fracturing in the pursuit of natural gas, or “fracking,” is going about at a record pace. It makes some people and a few corporations a lot of money. However, for an astonishing 350,000 people, it means they no longer can drink the water from their own property — it has become contaminated. And not just “ew, smelly water” bad, but water that can be lit on fire, can contain arsenic, benzene and other carcinogens, and can cause health issues such as bloody noses, rashes, headaches and miscarriages, to name a few.

    Recent studies from Colorado, a state with 47,000 active gas wells and 3,000 new ones coming online, show that people living within a half-mile from a gas well are exposed to air pollution five times the federal limit for safety. The study looked only at distances up to a half-mile; new studies are needed to look beyond. People within the half-mile report eye problems, significantly increased rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments, and headaches. How many people do you calculate live within a half-mile of one of 47,000 wells?

    Fracking is exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, thanks largely to Halliburton executive and former Vice President Cheney.

    In our addiction to fossil fuels, and our blind faith in capitalism, we have allowed the monetary gains of a few to trump the health and safety, the pursuit of life, liberty and simple happiness, of many. Please join me in urging the Legislature to ban in Vermont the despicable and unregulated practice of fracking.

    Hobie Guion

    East Montpelier

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