Medical Society of the State of NY Apr., 2013

April, 2013

The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) just finished their annual House of Delegates meeting and passed yet another resolution on hydrofracking. These types of resolutions become part of their lobbying effort.

 

First 2 Resolves are basically reaffirmations of existing positions (not, obviously, a bad thing) plus attention paid to the establishment of trust fund and opposing non-disclosure that has become such a problem in PA (doctor gag order, etc.) and elsewhere.

 

Just passed at the annual House of Delegates of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY)

 

RESOLVED, that the Medical Society of the State of New York reaffirm its Policy on high-volume hydraulic fracturing that states:

“The Medical Society of the State of New York supports a moratorium on natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until valid information is available to evaluate the process for its potential effects on human health and the environment” (Council Action, December 9, 2010); and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that the Medical Society of the State of New York supports the planning and implementation of a Health Impact Assessment to be conducted by a New York State school of Public Health: and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that the Medical Society of the State of New York advocate for the establishment of an industry-funded, independently-arbitrated state trust fund for people that may be harmed as a result of hydraulic fracturing: and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that the Medical Society of the State of New York oppose any non-disclosure provisions related to the practice of hydraulic fracturing that interferes with any aspect of the patient-doctor relationship and/or the ready collection of epidemiological data for future health impact studies.

 

New York State Medical Societies Call for Moratorium

It’s now official: the Medical Society of the State of New York has gone on record supporting a moratorium on gas drilling using high volume hydraulic fracturing.

Numerous county medical societies began supporting a moratorium. Most were content with waiting for the EPA to issue its findings before proceeding further even though it was unclear how wide a scope the study would cover or even if they would produce valid, reliable information to begin with. The thought was to wait, let the EPA prove itself and then reevaluate when the time came. Few thought the medical profession would be willing to leave a moratorium so open ended. Yet that is what was eventually passed at the state level: a call for a true moratorium until “valid information” is available. Given the fact that the process is only now coming under scrutiny of not only the state and federal government (where it should have been done in the first place), but academia, and now the medical community we might now begin to hope that the issue will get the attention and study it deserves. We might dare hope that the precautionary principle lives.
 
Here is the wording of the resolution passed by MSSNY:

RESOLVED, That the Medical Society of the State of New York supports a moratorium on natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until valid information is available to evaluate the process for its potential effects on human health and the environment.
 
 
Counties that passed their own calls for a moratorium are (might be incomplete):
Broome County Medical Society
Herkimer County Medical Society
Cayuga County Medical Society
Chemung County Medical Society
Chenango County Medical Society
Madison County Medical Society
Oneida County Medical Society
Onondaga County Medical Society
Oswego County Medical Society
Otsego County Medical Society
Tompkins County Medical Society
……literally all the southern tier
Delaware and Tioga Counties do not have separate Societies but fall under what is called the sixth District which also declared support for a moratorium.
 
Chris
Chris W. Burger
110 Walters Road
Whitney Point, NY 13862
(607) 692-3442
cwburger@frontiernet.net

See   for more information regarding medical professionals
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The model Resolution used with some variations:
 
Whereas, as physicians we believe in the principle of Primum, non, nocere, First, do no harm; and
 
Whereas, as physicians of [     ] County, we care first and foremost about the health of our community and believe that when an activity raises potential harm to human health, precautionary measures should be taken until cause and effect relationships are fully established scientifically, and
 
Whereas, the exploitation of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale Gas Field involves high-pressure injection of billions of gallons of water and millions of gallons of water-soluble chemicals into the shale formations to allow the release of natural gas, and
 
Whereas, backflow from this process contains heavy metals, radioactive materials and volatile organic compounds, and the effects of this process on human health have not been subject to rigorous medical research, and
 
Whereas, the review reported by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement contains no high quality medical data, now therefore be it
 
RESOLVED, that the [     ] County Medical Society supports a moratorium to natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until completion of the recently announced Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study to evaluate its effects on human health and the environment, and be it further
 
RESOLVED, that this resolution be sent to the appropriate state elected representatives, local media and other interested parties.
 

Onondaga Medical Society Cites Health Dangers of Fracking

Commentary: Insufficient evidence hydrofracking safe, says Dr. David Duggan, president of Onondaga County Medical Society

Published: Friday, November 26, 2010, 5:00 AM
 By David B. Duggan, M.D.

The Onondaga County Medical Society wishes to express its strongly held opinion that there is insufficient scientific evidence available to assure that the process of hydrofracking to enhance natural gas production is safe.

Because of the potential for significant health problems arising from exposure to unknown chemicals in drinking water and through agricultural uses of contaminated water, we believe that proposals for hydrofracking in Upstate New York should be made contingent upon the provision of sufficient scientific evidence to ensure that the public’s health is protected. Among the scientific issues that should be addressed are the following:

6 Comments

1) The additives to the water used to force natural gas from bedrock shale should be described in detail, including the components and concentrations of the additives.

2) Detailed studies should be performed to determine where the water will migrate after injection. This is especially of concern in those areas of the Marcellus shale that are at or near the surface, and where contaminated ground water remains a real concern.

3) The timeframes for the waters injected and their solubilized contaminants to spread throughout the region may be measured in several years, as geologic processes often evolve slowly, but this should not preclude the development of well-performed studies to measure these effects before widespread hydrofracking is approved.

Anecdotal reports of well contamination and the new phenomenon of natural gas seepage through wells and into personal water supplies should be investigated thoroughly by an independent third party with sufficient equipment and training to render an informed opinion as to the relationship of the gas escape and hydrofracking. The biological effects of each of the additives proposed for hydrofracking should be made public, and if insufficient investigations have been performed, they should proceed before these additives are used.

The implications of a contaminated ground water supply are substantial. We do not wish to recreate water-linked disasters such as Onondaga Lake’s contamination or the contamination that occurred in association with the WR Grace Company in Woburn, Ma., which was linked to multiple cases of childhood leukemia in the 1970s.

The assurances offered by the drilling companies, and statements that such things cannot happen because of the geologic formations present are not reassuring, as the companies’ incentives are to produce gas and profit, and assumed impermeability of underlying strata is a hypothesis rather than a demonstrated fact.

The potential for migration of contaminated hydrofracking water delivered under pressure is quite real, and the permeability characteristics of underlying strata have been based on limited sampling. I believe that only through an extensive sampling process with test wells could any realistic data be developed.

David Duggan, M.D., is president of the Onondaga County Medical Society.