Activists Question Fracking Near Schools

Albany, NY – State and national children's advocates and child health groups are calling on New York State officials to broaden their assessments of the impacts of hydrofracking as a method of tapping underground natural gas deposits to include child health impacts and impacts on schools. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The chance that well water used by public schools in the proposed Marcellus Shale Hydraulic Fracturing Zone - could be vulnerable to chemical contamination - has alarmed educators, parents and activists - Claire Barnett is Founder and Executive Director of Healthy Schools Network, Inc. - she says the complex issue involving schools illustrates a problem the network has named "who's in charge?" Barnett and the advocates say they are very concerned that a "human health assessment" - which under New York law, must be included in any environmental impact statement - is NOT part of the draft environmental impact statement on hydrofracking.

George Dunkel is the Executive Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics, District 2 - he says New York's 4-and-half million children are our most valuable and vulnerable resources. He urged Governor Cuomo to consider the children, especially during this festive time of year.

The press conference participants produced a map displaying 51 classroom buildings located on the Marcellus Shale that rely on private well water. Claire Barnett says the group is also asking the state that as permits for hydrofracking in the Utica Shale are filed with the DEC - that the mapping process be extended.