For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Seth Gladstone – sgladstone@fwwatch.org

Mark Ruffalo and Fracking-Harmed Residents Demand Help from Gov. Wolf with New Health Impacts Campaign

Groups rallying at 5pm outside Gov. Wolf’s Philly fundraiser and asking fundraiser attendees to ask him when he will help residents harmed by fracking.

Philadelphia - Dozens of organizations, affected residents, and actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo launched “Pennsylvania Fracking Health Impacts,” a new campaign asking Governor Wolf: when will you help families harmed by fracking? The campaign—www.pafrackinghealth.org—features 35 short video appeals directed at Gov. Wolf by Pennsylvanians, a compilation of the public health impacts and science he has ignored, a coordinated social media initiative that will keep ramping up, and rallies outside the governor’s events like the one Wednesday evening.

***Press are encouraged to come to the rally at 5:00 pm—outside Gov. Wolf’s fundraiser at Goose Island Brewhouse at 1002 Canal Street—which will include many of the organizations and affected residents, who will be speaking about the campaign at 5:30.***

The campaign makes clear that drilling and fracking and its infrastructure are causing widespread harm in Pennsylvania. Four years ago, Gov. Wolf pledged to help harmed residents, but since then he has done nothing. Pennsylvanians in the videos on the campaign website appeal to Gov. Wolf: “We need your help.”

Actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo, who has long been standing with Pennsylvanians harmed by drilling and fracking, said, “After Governor Wolf's election, I was hopeful that he would listen to the stories of his constituents who have been harmed by fracking and help them, and listen to the hundreds and hundreds of scientific studies that demonstrate harm. Unfortunately, he has done nothing to help the many families who have been harmed by fracking. Now I am joining with the Pennsylvanians who are launching this public health impacts campaign to help shine a light on this unjust tragedy and ask when will Governor Wolf act?”

"On his Inauguration Day, Governor Wolf promised Madison, an 11 year old from Butler County, that he would visit people in front line communities in the shalefields. He has not done that. If our government is going to be responsive to the needs of Pennsylvanians, government officials need to listen to those who have been impacted," said Michael Bagdes-Canning of Planning Group Marcellus Outreach Butler and Co-Founder of the Better Path Coalition.

While Governor Wolf has failed to meet with impacted residents in areas of Pennsylvania that have drilling and fracking, elected officials from both New York and Maryland have traveled to Pennsylvania to both meet with residents and see drilling and fracking operations first-hand. It was because of these visits and the scientific studies that demonstrate the harms that drilling and fracking have on public health that both New York and Maryland banned fracking.

The campaign points to the overwhelming scientific evidence of harm from over 1,000 studies, including health impacts, air pollution, water contamination, accidents and explosions, and infrastructure impacts.

"Much of the national research on fracking and health is based on data collected in Pennsylvania which sadly shows associations between fracking and asthma, migraine headaches, and significantly low birthweight babies and premature births. These children could suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives," said Walter Tsou, MD, Executive Director of Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, past president of the American Public Health Association and former health commissioner of Philadelphia.

The campaign will force Gov. Wolf to take responsibility for the public health and environmental harms that he has permitted and ignored. As part of its launch, the campaign is rallying with the Better Path Coalition outside of the governor's fundraiser in Philadelphia today at 5:00 pm. They will be handing out fliers to fundraiser participants that urge them to ask Governor Wolf when he will help residents harmed by fracking. There will be banners, signs, and other visuals pointing to the harms and demanding action from Gov. Wolf.

"Since taking office, Governor Wolf has done everything he can to enable the shale gas industry and expand the natural gas and petrochemical markets. A massive build-out of shale gas infrastructure under Wolf has brought fracking's harms to communities across the state. As the damage spreads, more and more Pennsylvanians are refusing to be treated by their governor as the externalities in the business plan of an industry that dictates energy policy in this state. We're here to tell Governor Wolf to stop ignoring the toll fracking is taking on the health and safety of his constituents," said Karen Feridun, Co-Founder, Better Path Coalition and Founder of Berks Gas Truth.

“Governor Wolf has had his head in the sand when it comes to the impact of fracking on Pennsylvania’s communities,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “Fracking and associated infrastructure like pipelines is turning large swathes of the state into a sacrifice zone so that fossil fuel corporations can profit from exports. It’s time the Governor took his constituents as seriously as he takes the oil and gas lobby.”

Julia Walsh, Campaign Director of Frack Action, said, “When will Governor Wolf take a fracking tour like hundreds of elected officials from all over the country and the world have done, including New York and Maryland which banned fracking? When will Governor Wolf help sick residents? When will he listen to the doctors and scientists and over a thousand studies that demonstrate terrible harm from drilling and fracking? The Pennsylvania Fracking Health Impacts campaign calls on Governor Wolf to finally keep his promise and help the many residents who have been harmed, and stop fracking.”

Tim Spiese, Board President, Lancaster Against Pipelines and Co-Founder of the Better Path Coalition, said, “The science on the health effects of non-conventional gas drilling in Pennsylvania is clear and overwhelming. Governor Wolf‘s support of natural gas drilling and new pipelines in this state as well as his desire to create dependency on natural gas through a severance tax stands in stark contrast to the fact that Pennsylvanian’s drinking water has been and is being contaminated and people are being made sick. This is an egregious violation of Article 1, Section 27 in our state constitution that asserts the right to clean air and clean water for all.”

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