Residents Ignored by Department of Health Share Details, Call for Investigation and Announce Story-Collecting Initiative
Harrisburg, Pa. – Today, individuals from around Pennsylvania who had fracking-related health complaints ignored by the state’s Department of Health (DOH) shared their stories and called on Attorney General Kathleen Kane to launch an investigation into the apparent disregard for their complaints.
The call on Kane follows a series of reports that DOH had several procedures in place designed to neglect health complaints related to hydraulic fracturing, including circulating a list of “buzzwords” relating to either fracking or health impacts frequently seen near areas with fracking-related infrastructure. In the midst of the conference call, advocates received a request from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes unit to interview the impacted individuals.
“In 2008 my family and I began getting sick after a compressor station was built 780 feet from our home,” said Pam Judy, a resident of Greene County. “The first place I contacted seeking information and assistance was the DOH. I was advised that they had received no similar complaints and they were unable to direct me to anyone who may be able to help us. After doing some research on my own I located a gentleman in Texas who had experienced a similar situation and he provided me with a list of the blood tests we needed to have done to determine exposure as well and a wealth of additional information. I should have been able to receive the same valuable information from the DOH.”
“I called two or three times to get information, while I was going in and out of the emergency room in Johnstown with migraine headaches, severe rashes, and blurry vision,” said Randy Moyer, a resident of Blair County. “Department of Health never got back to me, so I had to go on my own to figure out the details of my condition.”
Moyer and Judy are two of the 11 individuals impacted by fracking who have identified themselves as having experienced neglectful treatment from DOH. Advocates used the call to publicize an online form and hotline (717-467-3641 or 717-467-DOH1).
“We know these stories are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Sam Bernhardt, Senior Pennsylvania Organizer for Food & Water Watch. “These stories have been swept under the rug, and we are going to continue working to uncover them.”
“These stories not only confirm the allegations made by the whistleblowers, but demonstrate that the agency was unresponsive to fracking-related complaints since at least 2008 and as recently as last week. Nothing has changed. Pennsylvanians are not getting the answers they need from the agency tasked with protecting public health,” said Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth.
Contact: Sam Bernhardt – 267.428.1903, sbernhardt[at]fwwatch[dot]org