Silencing Communities: How the Fracking Industry Keeps Its Secrets

Silencing Communities: How the Fracking Industry Keeps Its Secrets by Mike Ludwig, May 8, 2012, Truthout
“As communities struggle to contend with these impacts and risks in their daily lives, citizens are forced or sometimes unknowingly sign a nondisclosure agreements, [and] they have lost their freedom to speak and share their knowledge and experience with their neighbors,” Perry said. “As a result, whole communities have been silenced and repressed.” … Dr. Jerome Paulson, a physician and director of Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, said that the fracking industry has told the public that the drilling procedure is safe, so there is no reason to hide information on health impacts from public view. Nondisclosure agreements with private landowners and disclosure exemptions, Paulson said, are preventing doctors from doing their jobs and protecting the public. “How do we provide appropriate treatment recommendations to who are ill?” Paulson asked during a press conference last week. “For the population of individuals who are healthy, how do we provide prevention recommendations when we don’t have the information?” … “We’re involved in this case because the gas companies insistence on confidentiality is the tip of the iceberg, for one example of a pattern of secrecy and in other contexts,” said Gerhart, who hopes that the effort to unseal the records will be a step toward greater industry transparency. “… We need real data and access to the real people that are affected by fracking.”

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