Louis W. Allstadt, a former high ranking executive with Mobil Oil Corporation, is leading the charge against natural gas fracking in New York. Allstadt, who was executive vice president for Mobil’s oil and natural gas drilling in the western hemisphere, now lives in Cooperstown, New York. For the past couple of years, Allstadt has been campaigning against the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing – fracking – and he says that fracking is a “bad idea” for New York state. With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo about to make a momentous decision about whether fracking will go forward in New York, many observers believe that Allstadt has become Cuomo’s worst nightmare.
Allstadt has been speaking to community groups around the state about the problem. He lays out in detail why he believes New York isn’t ready for fracking. Allstadt says that regulators are “steeped in an industry mindset” and aren’t able or “willing to impose the necessary regulatory regime on the industry.” Allstadt joined a group of medical professionals, scientists and engineers to call on the Obama administration “to halt the rush toward large-scale export of liquefied natural gas until the health impacts in the U.S. of dramatically expanded fracking can be resolved.”
Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy unveiled a petition to the administration. The group says there are “grounds for concern about the potential harm posed to humans by the hydro-fracking of shale gas, and that more research must be done in order to know more about such impacts.” “In the absence of needed testing, the Obama Administration could expose Americans to potential health harms,” according to the joint statement from the experts organized by the group.
Joining Allstadt in the call on President Obama was Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH, executive director, Physicians, Scientists, & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE), and environmental researcher, University of California, Berkeley; Adam Law, MD, physician, Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, NY, and Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE); and Madelon L. Finkel, PhD, professor of clinical public health, and director of the Office of Global Health Education, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City. The jury is still out on the potential for harm – both from a health perspective and on how it affects the environment – caused by fracking. It may be a good while before we really know whether the concerns are justified. It does make sense, however, to make every effort to find answers.
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