Is cheap energy really worth the life and well being of our children?
Would you trade your child’s life or even that of your neighbor’s child for cheap gas and energy? What about a child you never met, perhaps a few states away? We understand that these are horrific questions and hope that the overwhelming majority of you would say no, maybe even with an expletive thrown into the answer. The only problem is that the fracking industry may have already made the decision for you and it is not the answer you may have expected.
The natural gas industry is booming in the U.S., thanks to the controversial oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” for short. Most of the environmental concerns have been around the contaminated wastewater from fracking and lack of transparency, though a recent study out of Colorado found that fracking also increases air pollution. The Colorado School of Public Health conducted a study of fracking sites spanning three years finding “potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.” As discussed in our previous articles, benzene is a known carcinogen. The report continued to explain that those living or working within a half-mile of the fracking site are at greatest risk of exposure. With Colorado allowing these sites to exist within 150 feet from homes, the risk is real for many residents.
The Huffington Post released an article that exposed plans for a new fracking site in Colorado, one that could force children to breathe these toxic chemicals nearly every day. That is because the Red Hawk Elementary school may have a new drilling operation as its neighbor, just across the street. In the same article, Lisa McKenzie, lead researcher on the study at the Colorado School of Public Health stated that, “for children, the potential cancer risk is a serious consideration.” She continues her explanation stating that, “They are more sensitive, exposed at younger ages and for longer periods of time.” We find it ironic that while public schools are a tobacco free zone to reduce second hand smoke, though we can look the other way when it comes to toxic air pollution caused by fracking.
Step outside and feel the gentle breeze and the warm sun on your face, those two natural events could produce enough energy to make fracking unnecessary. Renewable energy is not a fad, it is an industry that just needs the consumers to want their products and push for them, and this demand will make renewable energy more affordable. I would gladly pay a few extra bucks each month if it meant keeping our air clean and our children safe.