Fracking Secrecy Denied.

             A judge ruled recently in favor of journalists seeking access to information about a fracking pollution case. Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca reversed an order by a Washingto County court sealing the record in a case in which a Pennsylvania family sued several gas companies over property damage and health impacts related to air and water pollution from nearby Natural gas operations. The Pittsburgh Post Gazzette and the Observer-Reporter had intervened in the case to unseal the records.

          Earthjustice, the non-profit environmental law firm, submitted anamicus brief supporting the newspapers on behalf of Philedelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, Dr Bernard D Goldstein, Dr Walter Tsou, Dr Jerome A Paulson, Dr William Rom, Dr Sandra Steingraber, Dr Simona Perry, Dr Robert Oswald, Dr Michelle Bamburger, Kathryn Vennie and Earthjustice. The doctors, scientists and advocates argued in favor of greater transparency about natural gas operations and their health effects.

             Earthjustice attorney, Mathew Gerhart said ” This case pitted the Natural Gas Industries insistence on secrecy against the history committments of the courts to public access to judicial proceedings. The courts ruling affirmed the importance of public access to the courts. This is a victory for everyone who believes we need more information and health consequences of frackin.”

                     Michelle Bamburger and Robert Oswald published a peer reviewed paper linking fracking with illness and the death of livestock. They cited 24 cases in 6 states, all the cows died or suffered serious health or reproductive problems after being exposed to fracking chemicals. The paper described cases of cows dalling sick, appearing to recover then a year later giving birth to still born calfs, to swelling limbs, infections, tails falling off and a healthy herd of 17 dropping dead 1 hour after fracking fluid spilled into their pasture.

               The latter herd had died of necropsy- respiratory failure with circulatory collapse. Petroleum hydrocarbons were found in their small intestines and lesions in their tracheas, lungs, livers and kidneys. Vasculitis, inflamation in the walls of the blood vessels . When blood vessels get inflamed they get narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow through them. Sometimes they close off completely, cutting of all circulation, which can lead to a tail falling off.

              The Natural Gas Industry is very displeased with this ruling, leading many to believe that they are hiding something bigger. Transparency cannit hurt a company that is not polluting. This is a victory for the little guy.

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