Anti-fracking activists use “Shalefield stories” to highlight need for legislation

By Aidan Connelly

Environmental activists gathered in front of the State House today to raise awareness of the looming threat of fracking in Massachusetts through “Shalefield Stories”, a collection of accounts from people whose lives have been affected by fracking.

Among those present were public health professionals, representatives from Environment Massachusetts, and state representative Denise Provost, who highlighted the lack of proper legislation for extracting resources in Massachusetts, observing that “the only valuables we’ve ever taken out of the ground in this state are sand and rock, and water.”[soundcloud id='141721142' color='#ff7700']

Fracking, the process of extracting natural gas by blasting underground rock formations with water, often laced with carcinogens, has been linked to numerous environmental and health risks in areas where it takes place.

Pennsylvania physicians have called the nausea, rashes, dizziness, headaches, and nosebleeds linked to areas that use fracking the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of health risks associated with the process.

Erica Streit-Kaplan, mother and public health professional, spoke on the threat that fracking poses to children and infants, highlighting the need for government support. “There are some things as parents we can’t do alone,” said Kaplan. “We need our government to step up and protect our air and protect our water.”

Since 2005, over 82,000 fracking wells have been drilled across the country, but the process has yet to be brought to the Bay State. The legislative push behind today’s event is a bill brought to the state congress in late 2013 that aims to place a ten year moratorium on fracking within state borders.

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