DATE: November 2015
Let me tell you a little bit about my family. I am married and have two children, Annabelle is six and Frankie is 11. We live in Susquehanna County, PA. I remember hearing about fracking in our area as early as 2008. I was excited at first, thinking that it would bring job opportunities into the area. I was unemployed at the time but knew that when Annabelle was a little older I would need to go back to work. Over the past five years I have changed my opinion. The jobs brought into the area are only available to people with fracking skills. I am still unemployed. My main concern now is not my lack of a job, it is of the health of my family.
I first became worried about the impact that fracking has on the health of my family in mid-2012, when I came across an article that listed many chemicals that leak into the environment during fracking. They say these chemicals are not dangerous, that they can be found in household cleaners. I use all natural cleaners because of the danger of using chemicals in my house. I did a little bit of my own research but was not quite sure what else to do.
In September of 2013, I came across another article, one that actually listed some health problems that are thought to be associated with fracking. These included headaches, dizziness, breathing problems, and eye irritation. I did not want my kids to start suffering from these conditions. Although there was no concrete evidence that they are caused by fracking, I thought that more research needed to be done. I decided to go to the Susquehanna River Commission, who was holding a debate in order to decide if they would impose a one year moratorium on drilling.
I voiced my concern about the impact fracking could have on the health of my children, and that I thought more research needed to be done on health impacts before drilling continued. Unfortunately, the commissioners decided that a one year moratorium was not necessary, although I know at least Commissioner Kate was also concerned for the health of my children and had trouble justifying why their decision made sense.
Two years later, Annabelle, now eight, suffers from chronic headaches every day. She has trouble in school because she cannot concentrate on anything due to the pain. Frankie can no longer play soccer because he has trouble breathing. He has been rushed to the nurse’s office at school twice now while playing kickball at recess. I cannot prove that these health problems arose purely because of fracking, but there are other children in the area that are suffering as well. I am telling you my story because something needs to be done. I watch my children suffer every day and know they will be affected for the rest of their lives.