All blogs filed under public health

Protecting Our Environment

Last week in Canonsburg, PA, 1,200 people attended an EPA public listening session on concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing during natural gas drilling. Since the U.S. Senate was in session and I was unable to attend the event, I asked a staff member from my Pittsburgh office to attend and read my statement on the EPA’s proposed study of hydraulic fracturing and potential impacts on drinking water.

Pennsylvania has a history of environmental hardships, most created in previous generations when federal regulations promoting responsible natural resource development did not exist.  For example, Pennsylvania has old natural gas wells that remain uncapped and leak methane into homes.  Pennsylvania has acid mine drainage that costs millions of dollars every year to remediate.  There are lessons contained within these examples from which we need to learn.

Last June, I introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act, because I believe if the development of the Marcellus Shale is carried out in a manner that protects the environment and human health, then it will enhance our State’s economy and increase our Nation’s energy security. The FRAC Act requires public disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracturing process and requires that hydraulic fracturing be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  It is my hope that the FRAC act will keep the environment and the people of Pennsylvania safe, while fully developing the great opportunity that the Marcellus Shale has to offer.

Trouble at the Erie Coke Corporation Plant

Last month, after news about possible environmental and public health threats posed by the Erie Coke Corporation plant, I requested that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conduct a public health assessment to determine if emissions from the Erie Coke Corp.’s coke-making facility has or will cause harm to the health of people living near the facility.  Many Erie residents believe they have suffered a wide range of health problems, ranging from headaches to cancer, due to the plant’s emissions.  

Earlier this month, ATSDR notified me that it plans to work other agencies to determine what information and monitoring data exist about the type and concentration of air contaminants that may be released from the facility or present in the air of the surrounding community.  ATSDR will use this information to determine if a public health assessment is feasible and, if so, what type of assessment would provide the community with the most accurate and timely information possible to respond to its concerns. 

Protecting the health of those who work at the Erie Coke plant and those who reside near the plant is a top priority.  I believe all citizens are entitled to a clean, healthy environment and that any serious threats to this entitlement must be addressed. 

Tags:
Cancer
Environment
Erie
public health
Showing page 1 of 1