Pennsylvania ordered its health workers to never discuss fracking

In the heavily fracked Keystone State, the economic interests of frackers trump the health concerns of residents. “We were absolutely not allowed to talk to [people who called with concerns related to fracking],” said Tammi Stuck, who worked as a community health nurse in Fayette County for nearly 36 years. … “There was a list of buzzwords we had gotten,” Stuck said. “There were some obvious ones like fracking, gas, soil contamination.

fracking?
fracking? (Photo credit: beelaineo)

Stuck said she has spoken to employees working in other state health centers who received the same list of buzzwords and the same instructions on how to deal with drilling-related calls. “People were saying: Where’s the Department of Health on all this?” Stuck said. “The bottom line was we weren’t allowed to say anything.”

The office of Gov. Tom Corbett declined to comment on the former employees’ claims, and a state health spokesperson basically called them liars. This is one of the most troubling — but unfortunately, not surprising — examples of how our leaders at the state and federal levels have been failing to put the health of Americans over profits for powerful oil and gas interests. And if it was happening here unreported for so long, how are we to know it’s not happening in other states?

EPA dropped an investigation into drinking water contamination in Dimock, PA — as well as in Texas and Wyoming – without sufficient explanation, despite evidence of lingering fracking-related contamination and health concerns.

Avoiding investigation of health complaints provides enough cover for frackers to continue claiming there’s “no proof” of health impacts. This is backwards.

[...] [The bottom line,] Pennsylvania has collected more than $600 million in drilling fees during the past three years — but absolutely none of those funds have made their way to the health department to help it monitor or investigate fracking’s impacts on residents. - Pennsylvania ordered its health workers to never discuss fracking | Grist