El Cerrito, CA-- Citizen sampling of air quality near natural gas production facilities has identified highly unsafe levels of toxic chemicals near homes, playgrounds, schools and community centers in Colorado and New Mexico. A new report issued by Global Community Monitor, GASSED!Citizen Investigation of Toxic Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development, details the air sampling results, environmental and public health threats with living amid the natural gas boom.
A coalition of environmental and community based organizations in Colorado and New Mexico collected nine air samples that were analyzed by a certified lab. The lab detected a total of 22 toxic chemicals in the air samples, including four known carcinogens, as well as toxins known to damage the nervous system and respiratory irritants. The chemicals detected ranged from 3 to 3,000 times higher than what is considered safe by state and federal agencies. Sampling was conducted in the San Juan Basin area of Colorado and New Mexico, as well as Garfield County in western Colorado.
“Carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and acrylonitrile should not be in the air we breathe – and certainly not at these potentially harmful levels," said Dr. Mark Chernaik, scientist. “These results suggest neighboring communities are not being protected and their long-term health is being put at risk.”
"My husband, pets, and I have experienced respiratory and other health related problems during the twelve years we have lived on Cow Canyon Road in La Plata County, Colorado. We believe these health issues are related to the air quality in our neighborhood and in the area,” said Jeri L. Montgomery, neighbor of natural gas development. Through the course of the pilot study, neighbors of natural gas production facilities documented chemical odors and sampled the air. Neighbors have appealed to local, state and national government agencies to investigate their air quality complaints, to limited recourse.
"We are very concerned about the total disregard for the health and welfare of the people "existing" near the sickening toxic oil and gas industry dumps located in neighborhoods such as the land farm on Crouch Mesa and the waste disposal facility in Bloomfield that are permitted and approved by the State of New Mexico and Federal EPA,” said Shirley McNall, member of San Juan County, NM Residents Worried About Our Health.
"Experts and agencies recognize more air monitoring is needed, but it's not happening," said Paul Light, co-chair of the Battlement Concerned Citizens. "Rather than wait for the government, we used the Bucket Brigade to collect much-needed air quality information."
The community and environmental groups in the San Juan Basin and western Colorado worked with Global Community Monitor, which trains community members living near industrial operations to run their own “Bucket Brigade” to sample their air. The Bucket Brigade has been used in 27 countries internationally. The bucket uses EPA methods for testing and an independent lab for air sample analysis.
Complaints about air quality have also surfaced in other states around the country, including West Virginia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming. Little information exists to educate and inform citizens about the chemicals being stored, emitted into the air, ground or water in close proximity to their homes. “People are getting gassed, and they don’t even know what is coming at them. The air monitoring provides crucial information in understanding what families are being exposed to on a day-to-day basis,” said Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor.
Federal loopholes in the Clean Air Act allow major corporations to circumvent basic protections that put public health first. US EPA is currently drafting new regulations to control and monitor air pollution from natural gas development. Congress is debating new legislation, such as the Bringing Reductions to Energies Air Born Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act.
As regulation moves forward, GASSED! states that solutions are possible. The natural gas industry should invest in pollution controls to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of chemicals in the air. The report also calls for mandatory air monitoring at all natural gas operations and disclosure of chemicals used in the process to local residents.
In addition, the proximity of neighbors and wells is often too close. The report recommends a minimum quarter mile buffer zone between homes, schools and natural gas operations. This is similar to regulations enacted by Tulare County, CA on pesticide spray and St. Charles Parish, LA on industrial development. The report further states, “As the natural gas industry continues to grow, so will the number of families neighboring and affected by the emissions. Industry and government leaders have a unique opportunity to address public health and environmental issues. For coexistence between communities and gas industry to be possible, chemical exposure has to be immediately addressed.”
The full report can be downloaded at: Gassed! Full Report
Download the Appendix:
Complete Air Samples Results Spreadsheet
Full Air Sample Data Interpretation Letter from Mark Chernaik, Phd
The Rally: Cheers for the Rally and Ralliers! Thank you for coming! Lounging on chairs on swatches of shade under the graceful trees of the Capitol lawn, about 200 (as reported in the Dominion Post) ralliers, listened to speeches, talked to each other or went inside the Capitol to talk to representatives, bought a WV4MOM t-shirt and drank volumes of water. It was hot—about 95 degrees. However the heat was compensated for by the wonderful array of speakers and their speeches. We thank them all. We also send a very heartfelt thanks to: Candace Jordan, Darien Flores, Eve Faulkes, Gwen Jones, Jim Kotson, John Garlow, John Lozier, John Rosenbaum, Kathy Cash, Leigh Carter, Lou Cottingham, Nancy Weber, Peggy Pings, Renee Jensen and Sophie Cash-Goldwasser. Please check media reports about the rally online. Most are very positive. If you went to the rally and want to give us feedback about it please write what you liked and how we could improve it the next time. We also understand that people wanted to come but had other commitments. However please read the following because there are critical things we all need to do NOW.
WE ARE IN A CRISIS SITUATION NOW
Yesterday Governor Tomblin called for Emergency Fracking Rules. Once these regulations are in place, there might be very little we can do to change them.
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! SPEND SOME TIME THIS WEEK WRITING LETTERS!
REGARDING THE MORGANTOWN CITY COUNCIL:
1. We have a new City Council now, and a new mayor. It's important that we show them our support for the ban.
The plan: One letter (maybe 15 minutes time) targets 17 key people at an extremely critical time.
REGARDING THE STATE LEGISLATURE AND THE SPECIAL SESSION ON MARCELLUS DRILLING AND FRACKING. REMEMBER ONCE REGULATIONS ARE MADE IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO CHANGE THEM:
1. Please write letters to or call members of the Special Session on Marcellus ASAP. Here is their contact information:
Doug Facemire, D-Braxton, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Facemeyer R-Jackson email@example.com
Corey Polumbo D-Kanawha firstname.lastname@example.org
Herb Snyder D-Jefferson email@example.com
Orphy Klempa D-Ohio firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Manchin, D-Marion, Chair email@example.com
Barbara Fleischauer D-Monongalia firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Campbell, D-Greenbrier email@example.com
Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Anderson, R-Wood email@example.com
For letter content ideas, check out the WV4MOM.com proclamation about regulations.
Here are the top needs in a Marcellus bill:
1. Advance public notice of all stages in permitting and drilling
2. Adequate permit fees and bonding amounts
3. Protection of surface owners’ property and rights
4. Water withdrawal monitoring and permitting to protect streams and rivers
5. Enhance inspection of casing/cementing as critical for groundwater protection
6. Full protection of all water wells, with adequate setbacks and testing
7. Increased funding for more inspectors to assure safe practices
8. Reform method of certifying and selecting new gas inspectors
9. Removal and proper disposal of drilling pits
10. Disclosure of fracking fluid contents and safety plans for accidents
11. Protect public lands: state parks, wildlife areas, and state forests
2. Go to Charleston to attend the Sessions having to do with Marcellus drilling and fracking regulations. These meetings are listed online.
Meetings and cancellations this Week: July 11-15
1. There will be a meeting of the Action and Education Committees on July 15, at 7 pm,
at 644 Grand St., Morgantown. Everyone is welcome.
2. There will be no courthouse rally on Wednesday of this week. We had our rally in Charleston. So we are postponing our Morgantown rally this week.
3. There will be no meeting of the Education Committee on Wednesday of this week. The Education Committee will meet along with the Action Committee on Friday of this week, at 7 pm, at 644 Grand St.
We believe in non-violent and non-coercive behavior, acts and words. We do not condone or support violence or coercion either in behavior or words. Neither do we condone or support incitement to violence and coercion.
We believe in supporting our beliefs with knowledge, accurate information, facts and the voice of personal experience if described as such. We do not believe in misrepresenting facts or spreading information that is inaccurate and fallacious or making false accusations.
We believe in operating within and following the laws of West Virginia and the United States as so stated in their constitutions. We do not believe in operating outside the law of our land.
We believe in following a democratic process, respecting and listening to the voices and opinions of others. We believe in dialogue and participation. We will respectfully listen to others, even those with whom we do not agree. We do not believe in a non-participatory form of leadership where decisions that affect many are made without consent.
We believe in respect for all living things. We believe every person and all beings should be treated with respect and dignity. We will consider the consequences of our actions and speech upon others. As humans we are the stewards of the earth and its resources.
We believe that all living things possess the right to clean air and safe drinking water. We dedicate ourselves to protecting these rights. We do not believe that only a few should own our resources, control and have access to resources and exclude others from these resources. Environmental rights are also human and animal rights.
We believe that a community built upon open communication and shared resources is a healthy community.
Here is the agenda for the Moratorium on Marcellus Rally, Monday July 11, in Charleston at the Capitol Building (North Circle), 10 am to 2:30 pm. We have an informed and diverse group of speakers and talented musicians. Please come to hear them all and visit a representative as well. Everyone is welcome!
10:00 John and Rye Garlow, Musicians
10:10 Cracker Stackwell, Musician
10:30 Chuck Wyrostock, Sierra Club
10:30 Carpenter Ants, Musicians
11:00 Kathy Cash, WV4MOM
11:05 Denise Giardina, West Virginia Writer
11:10 Mike Manypenny, Delegate Taylor County
11:15 Barbara Evans Fleischauer, Delegate Monongalia County
11:20 Rose Baker, Wetzel County Action Group
11:30 Michael and Carrie Kline, Musicians
12:00 John Manchester, Mayor of Lewisburg
12:05 Tony Barill, Delegate Monongalia County
12:10 Julie Archer, WVSoro
12:15 Larry Schwab, Physician
12:20 Mitch Anderson, Amazon Watch
12:25 Frank Young, WV Environmental Council
12:30 T. Paige Dalporto, Musician
1:00 Don Spencer, Former Member Morgantown City Council
1:05 Bonnie Hall, Wetzel County Action Group
1:10 Jesse Johnson, Former Mountain Party Chairperson
1:15 Crede Calhoun, Eco Tourism
1:20 Ba Rea, Educator & Science Interpreter
1:25 Mark Moran, Pharmacist & Fairmont Activist
1:30 Dee Fulton, Veterinarian & Frack Check WV
1:35 Bob Henry Baber, Mountain Party Candidate for Governor
1:40 Hiram Lewis, Lawyer
1:45 Kathy Cash (WV4MOM)
1:50 John Garlow, Stewed Mulligan, Musicians
MOM is hoping to see you at the rally in Charleston on Monday, July 11 at the Capitol from 10 am to 2 pm. Many of you have heard from MOM and how much MOM needs support from you on Monday. MOM realizes that you might have other obligations. But this is something very important if not critical that you can do for MOM. This is the best way right now you can help MOM. After everything that MOM has done for you, now it is time for you to Do it for MOM!
Please remember to make an appointment to talk with one of your representatives while you are in Charleston. Our representatives need to hear about your concerns. Please try to make your appointments from 10 am to 11 am. since rally speakers will be speaking between 11 am and 1:30 pm.
Don’t forget MOM wants you to bring water, a hat, a bag lunch, a sign saying where you are from (there are so many of you that MOM sometimes forgets your names) and comfortable shoes. MOM cares about all of you and wants to see you all in Charleston on Monday, July 11. DAD (Denizens Against Drilling) is interested too, but right now DAD does not have time to write or have an organization. However DAD will be there. Like me, DAD hopes to see you all. Do it for DAD!
Thank you, dear ones.
IN PRESS: Accepted for publication in the International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, September 4, 2010. Expected publication: September-October 2011.
Each shirt costs $12.00. A small portion of the cost of the shirt will be used to pay for the rally.