A group of health professionals opposed to hydraulic fracturing penned a letter Wednesday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling on him to take a closer look at radon levels in shale gas before allowing fracking in New York.
The letter, signed by nine people including a representative of the American Lung Association, urges Cuomo’s administration to first examine whether gas from the Marcellus Shale has elevated levels of radon before green-lighting fracking. The state should take a closer look at radiation issues related to shale-gas before proceeding, the letter signers content.
But the letter is notable for this: The health professionals who signed the letter are continuing to push Cuomo’s administration to do its own study of fracking’s health-related impacts.
In September 2012, now-former state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah launched a review of fracking — which, he said often, was decidedly not a study. The Department of Health wasn’t tasked with studying the impacts of fracking, but rather reviewing the Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed permitting guidelines and studies conduct by outside professionals and colleges.
“We are writing to urge your administration to conduct studies and a human health risk assessment of the occurrence of radon and radium during drilling for natural gas before deciding whether to allow drilling in New York’s portion of the Marcellus shale or the distribution to New Yorkers of Marcellus shale gas containing unhealthy levels of radon,” the letter reads. “We urge your administration to make public any and all data collected about the presence of these two carcinogenic elements in Marcellus shale drilling so that the citizens of New York will have full access to the information used in your decisionmaking.”
Here’s the full letter:
(File photo via USA Today)