The Dig

The Dig

Fracking and Public Health

Public health concerns have emerged as a focal point in the dialogues around fracking. Gina Angiola, M.D., board member of the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, formed the Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland after witnessing the fracking ban in New York backed by the Concerned Health Professionals in that state.

The Dig: Fracking and Public Health

Dr. Angiola laments that there are “limitations” to what modern medicine can do for people once they are sick, and says that her focus has therefore been on prevention for many years. Additionally, she views climate change as a public health issue. These two personal foci are what led her to an interest in fracking.

The 2011 fracking moratorium in Maryland, and the accompanying deliberations of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission, granted enough time, according to Angiola, for numerous medical studies around fracking’s impacts to emerge. Angiola says the discussions in Maryland were largely “missing the health component” until then.

Maryland’s subsequent ban is only the beginning of what Angiola hopes will eventually become a broader engagement around halting climate change.

Footage courtesy of: Jon Bowermaster/Oceans 8 Films

The Dig: Fracking and Public Health

Natural gas development in Maryland has been a hotly-contested topic for several years. Environment, economics, and public health are often cited as major issues in the debates, even as the Maryland General Assembly passed a ban in March of 2017.

Maryland Public Television presents the details and personal stories behind the subject here, in an effort to clarify the arguments behind the policy.