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Article published April 26, 2014
Not a spokeswoman
Joan Simmons Adams Township
Thomas Coleman’s letter (“Don’t drill near school,” April 20) has misrepresented facts and conveyed opinions that simply are incorrect. I am the woman, erroneously referred to in his letter as an industry spokeswoman, who spoke at the Adams Township supervisors meeting. I clearly identified myself as a resident of Adams Township. In no way did I imply or otherwise indicate that I was a spokesperson for any drilling company. What I did say was that my attorney, who has vast experience in this field, said it was her opinion that if the supervisors enacted this 2 mile safety zone around the Mars Area schools, it would be like taking the gas rights from the land owners who have already signed their rights to a gas company; in essence, this would take, by eminent domain, their gas. And that taking would put the township supervisors in the position of facing multiple lawsuits, and having to pay the landowners for what was taken from them. I asked the supervisors to make sure they had good legal council before taking that step. I understand the concerns others have regarding gas drilling. The fact is, and it is clearly stated in multiple articles, that there are no good long-term studies that have shown a correlated negative impact linking drilling and health. There are many articles that imply a correlation, but proof is non-evident. Article after article says water wells have been contaminated, residents suffer from asthma outbreaks, people get sore throats and headaches. I am not saying these things don’t happen. What I am asking is where is the scientific evidence that fracking is to blame? And where is the evidence that that these issues are a major concern? A few incidences do not extrapolate to a major problem. Do studies need to be done? Absolutely. However, to shut down gas drilling because of “perceived,” unproven allegations is ludicrous. Knowing there are toxic chemicals present in fracking doesn’t mean they cause cancer. There are cancerous elements around all of us all the time. Knowing there are emitted toxins doesn’t prove they cause cancer either. Is it a concern? Certainly. That is why there are ongoing regulations that periodically change to address those issues, and hopefully research in the not so distant future will address these issues. Even Dr. Jerome Paulson, director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment states: “Because no research has been done, there is no data on the long-term outcomes associated with exposure to these chemicals.” He also states: “...neither the industry, nor government, nor other researchers have ever documented that it is safe for this process to occur near children, or if there is a safe distance between the children and the site which decreases risk to a level which parents and communities might find acceptable if they could assess the data.” So why the 2 mile radius? Why not 5 miles or 10 miles? These quotes come directly from a letter Dr. Paulson wrote to the Adams Township Supervisors, Middlesex Township Supervisors and Mars Area School Board. He also states in the letter that the opinions expressed “do not represent the policy of either organization and have not been reviewed by either organization.” He is referring to MACCHE, which is indirectly funded by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, and the EPA. It seems to me that considering the efforts that have gone into getting organizations involved to stop the gas drilling, that someone along the way with enough clout to get the attention of the necessary people would have stepped up to the plate to stop the drilling. Clearly that has not happened and it begs the question: Why?