Page 8

“It shocks me that we pride ourselves on being a national leader on environmental protection, yet we have allowed this activity to occur largely unregulated. California regulates massage therapists more than hydraulic fracturing.” Assemblymember Richard Bloom (37)

By Cindy Russell, MD VP-Community Health, Santa Clara County Medical Association A large bus rolls by with a sign on the side that says, in big bold letters, “This bus is running on clean natural gas.” We don’t see a trail of smoke or detect an acrid smell from the tailpipe, and we think to ourselves, what a wonderful alternative to gasoline with its lung damaging sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, and particulate matter that waft into the air. No pollution necessary, to turn those wheels. Right? Natural gas is important for a healthy clean environment. Right? Unfortunately, scientists who have carefully reviewed this issue contend nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, natural gas is largely methane and burns somewhat cleaner than oil, but it is actually dirtier than coal and much worse for the environment, when you look at the entire life cycle of natural gas extraction

with its air pollution, water contamination, hazardous waste disposal, seismic activity, total emissions, and potent global-warming gases released. (90)(91)(92)(93)(178) Rapid removal and use of natural gas and oil will contribute to a more rapid shift in the earth’s climate and limit our ability to prevent catastrophic global warming. (87) An analysis of 36 climate change indicators was recently detailed in a 240-page report by California’s Environmental Protection Agency. (298) It shows that “The science is clear that we are already seeing significant changes in every part of the state.” (87)(93)(99)(128)(130)(133)(134)(165) (178)(204)(205)(206)(213). Oil and natural gas are extracted by similar methods and both have serious environmental and public health consequences. Modern fracking just carries more risk and more rapidly damages the environment. Hydraulic fracking is a method to increase oil and gas extraction by drilling into the earth, then injecting fracking chemicals and water under high pressure to break apart rock formations and release trapped gas and oil, forcing them to the surface. After the fractures are created, a “propping” agent such as sand is pumped into the

Fracking Our Farmland, O and Our Future: A New To 8 | THE BULLETIN | SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2013

Profile for SCCMA/MCMS

2013 September/October  

2013 September/October  

Profile for 18621