Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mom, I Don’t Feel So Good: Over Half a Million U.S. Children Attend School Within A Mile Of A Fracked Well

Mom, I Don’t Feel So Good: Over Half a Million U.S. Children Attend School Within A Mile Of A Fracked Well
By Kurtis Bright

Sickening New Study Finds That 650,000 U.S. Children Go To School Within A Mile Of A Fracking Site

Hell is for children, according to the song. But when it comes to what we put our children through in the U.S., some things are worse than others.

There’s the perpetual assault of video and audio noise they must learn to process even before birth. Then we ply them with giant fructose-trap sodas and chemical-laden fried “chicken” nugget-things throughout their childhood, thus dooming them to lives battling obesity and type 2 diabetes. We also pollute their air, and have done a fine job of ensuring that their future climate--hell, their future--will be at the very least less liveable than our own.

But these casual crimes committed daily against the young are perhaps eclipsed by the poisons with which they are enveloped due to fracking operations all across the U.S.

This proliferation of hydraulic fracturing--known as fracking--and the almost complete  lack of regulation or oversight of the process has made this problem much, much worse than most of us realize.

The Environment America Research & Policy Center has released the results of a study showing that as many as 650,000 U.S. schoolchildren are currently attending schools that are within a mile of a fracked well, exposing them to a horrorshow of toxins not only in their drinking water, but in the air they breathe every day.

“Oil and gas companies are fracking near our communities, polluting our air and water, and risking the health of our children and other vulnerable populations,” reads the report.

The study found that there were 1,947 child care facilities and 1,376 schools within a one-mile radius of a fracked well in the nine states they examined. But in addition to endangering children, the wells also constitute a threat for the elderly and infirm: in those nine states there were 103 hospitals and 236 nursing home care provider facilities within the one-mile radius.

What’s more, if you extend the radius to two miles from a fracked well, there are nearly a million and a half children attending school in the areas affected.

Should there be any lingering doubt about the seriousness of the issue, the prestigious Johns Hopkins University should be able to put it to rest. There have been no less than three studies on the effects of fracking on people living nearby, all of which have led to the same conclusions: people living near fracking wells are subject to increased risk of health problems ranging from asthma, sinus issues, migraines and fatigue, high-risk pregnancies and premature births.

“Given the scale and severity of fracking’s impacts, banning fracking is the prudent and necessary course to protect public health and the environment,” continues the Environment America report.

Indeed. However, don’t expect any change anytime soon. Short of passing a law mandating that the stockholders and CEOS of the oil companies and their families be forced to reside within a mile of the wells from which they profit, we can be certain that the hands-off policies toward fracking implemented by the Bush (Cheney) administration, and seamlessly continued by Obama will remain horribly inadequate to protect the public under a President Trump.

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