ALBUQUERQUE–Environment New Mexico delivered a letter from 25 doctors, nurses and other health professionals in New Mexico Thursday to President Obama asserting that fracking should be stopped, given the overwhelming threats to public health.
Environment New Mexico’s federal arm, Environment America, and its other state affiliates delivered similar letters to decision-makers from more than 1,000 health professionals nationwide.
The letters, which include signers from all 50 states, come as public awareness of the health and environmental impacts of fracking is on the rise. In one striking example, last month a peer-reviewed study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found an increased rate of birth defects in babies born to mothers in Colorado who lived in close proximity to multiple oil and gas wells.
“Fracking is making people sick—period. New Mexico families are already suffering from dangerous air pollution and water contamination caused by dirty drilling,” said Director of Environment New Mexico Sanders Moore. “We need our elected officials to act now to protect people. And 25 doctors, nurses, and health professionals in New Mexico agree. This should serve as a wake-up call for mayors and our federal decision-makers.”
“The risks to public health are inherent with fracking. The methods used are too dangerous for New Mexico’s lands and groundwater,” Joanne Johnston, certified adult nurse practitioner said. “The fact that health care practitioners in some states are under gag orders not to explore chemical exposures or the link from their patients’ symptoms to fracking speaks volumes about the health impacts of this practice.”
In the letters delivered Thursday, the health professionals state that “the prudent and precautionary response would be to stop fracking.” They go on to specifically call on President Obama to take two immediate steps to better protect families and communities on the frontlines of fracking:
- Call for closing the loopholes that exempt fracking from the nation’s major environmental and public health laws; and
- Declare sensitive areas—including Chaco Culture National Historical Park and places that provide drinking water for millions of Americans—”off-limits” to fracking.
“Fracking is a public health emergency. The Obama administration should act with all its authority to better protect communities. And given the onslaught of damage caused by fracking, this dirty drilling practice should be banned,” Moore said.