Cumberland Times-News


July 7, 2014

Fracking: People will be sick, hurt financially

— I read with interest the article in the Cumberland Times-News on the health impact assessment (“Study completed on fracking in Md.,” June 30, 2014). I attended the meeting and after reading the article decided to write this letter.

The article got the facts correct, however, it concerned me that the major (for me) take-away was not mentioned. The bottom line for the impact assessment was assigning a level of negative impact on health (low, medium or high) likely to be experienced by the citizens of Western Maryland, due to fracking.

The study authors explained how each impact element (e.g. air, water, noise, etc.) was assigned a grade and that the impact for all elements were then combined to create a single score for the assessment.

The overall score for Allegany and Garrett counties was medium. That is there would probably be a medium negative impact on our health. What the authors didn’t explain was what that score meant in terms of negative health impacts for us.

For example, how many of us would likely get cancer, emphysema, asthma, and so forth. What they did say was that our local health infrastructure would be overwhelmed. That is we would need more doctors, hospital beds, emergency medical services, and the like.

That means to me that they feel that lots of people are going to get sick. It also means that lots of people are going to be financially damaged from health care expenses and for other related reasons. I don’t know why the Times-News didn’t mention the impact assessment result and what it would mean to our collective health. One hopes the Times-News doesn’t have a dog in this fight.

For me, I will continue to write letters to the editor although I don’t know if this one or future ones will get published. I will be sending copies of the letters, including this one, in email to people I think may be interested and will be happy to include anyone else who would like to receive them.

Send me an email at with “sign me up” in the subject line. I felt from sitting through the presentation on the assessment that the investigators were honest and did a good job on the analysis, however, it seemed to me that given the result of the study that one more recommendation was called for — don’t do it.

Jim Guy


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