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Factual sources about fracking

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(Regarding Frank Splendoria’s letter published Nov. 30): I did not provide any sources regarding the reasons I support a ban on fracking because, in the Google age, anyone can “fact check” anything — as we know from the recent presidential debates. Of course, not everyone owns a computer or is computer savvy, so I respect your expressed openness to an honest discussion about the proven toxic legacy of fracking.

The oil/gas industry’s proven toxic legacy began with Haliburton in the 1960s and now, a million wells later and counting, has left disease and devastation in its wake — as shown by fraccidents.com — a website mapping fracking accidents across the U.S., including New Mexico.

In New York State, for example, 62,620 jobs were projected by 2018, via 500 new shale gas wells annually in five counties; however, according to Food & Water Watch.org, based on inaccuracies and methodological flaws in New York’s forecasting model, only 10 percent (6,656 jobs) could be supported. The only certainty is that a watershed serving millions of people will be contaminated. And if you think New Mexico’s experience will have different outcomes than New York or Pennsylvania, ask the folks in Farmington or Artesia how they like their stinking air and water or poisoned livestock!

All jobs carry risk, running the gamut from a paper cut to a fatality. The silica (benignly called “sand”) used in the fracking mix resulted in OSHA issuing warnings, based on a recent NIOSH study that “found silica exposure is a major workplace hazard in fracking operations. Workers exposed to silica run the risk of developing silicosis, lung cancer and other debilitating diseases.” Moreover, workers (and medical staff attending them) were exposed to leaking fracking fluids which, as trade secrets, are not required to be disclosed, even to help medical staff correctly treat victims, in some cases, effecting a virtual “gag order” on doctors who are given such information (according to a recent AMA journal).

As part of the food chain, we, other animals and plant life depend on the same clean air and water for survival. Thus, the only two questions that must be addressed are: first, how much revenue would justify risking your health? And secondly, how much revenue will be enough to buy clean water and fresh air?

Diana Presser
Committee for Clean Water, Air & Earth