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01/27/2015, 12:00 pm

New Article Highlights Concern over Shale Gas Development in the United Kingdom

For Immediate Release

January 27, 2015

 

Contact: Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH (510) 899-9706, sshonkoff@psehealthyenergy.org

 

 

SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATION, PSE HEALTHY ENERGY, AND FACULTY AT WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY OF EXETER MEDICAL SCHOOL ARTICULATE CONSIDERATIONS IN SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT

 

 

Background:

 

The UK government has indicated strong support for shale gas development and has started granting licenses for companies to begin initial exploration. Meanwhile, concern continues to increase among the scientific community worldwide about the potential impacts of shale gas development on human health and the environment. Although important data gaps remain, there has been a surge in the number of articles appearing in the scientific literature, nearly three-quarters of which have been published since the beginning of 2013. Various countries and states have responded in different ways to the scientific evidence and uncertainty when creating shale gas policies, reflecting diverse legislative standpoints regarding risks and precaution. Some legislatures have enacted moratoria until the impacts are better understood (New Brunswick (Canada), Germany), some have banned the practice outright (New York (U.S.), France, Bulgaria), while others have eagerly promoted shale gas development (South Africa, Poland, and a number of states in the U.S.). This article suggests that important lessons can be drawn from the shale gas experience in the U.S., enumerating a number of considerations related to shale gas and the environment, climate, public health, economics, community, and social wellbeing. It argues that future policy decisions surrounding the development of this resource should be guided by empirical evidence – not purported best practices. 

 

Quotes

 

"While significant data gaps remain, the scientific community now knows much more about the environmental and public health dimensions of shale gas development than it did a couple years ago. As other countries around the world contemplate the development of this resource they should pay close attention to the United States experience and the data generated from it."

Seth B.C. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH

Executive Director | PSE Healthy Energy

Visiting Scholar | University of California, Berkeley

 

"Policy decisions should be informed by evidence generated on environmental and public health risks rather than purported best practices and tough regulations that lack empirical support as to their efficacy."

Jake Hays, MA

Director | Environmental Health Program | PSE Healthy Energy

 

"More quantitative epidemiological research is needed, but initial investigations in the United States suggest that shale gas development can and has likely adversely impacted human health."

Adam Law, MD, FRCP (UK)

Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine | Weill Cornell Medical College

President | PSE Healthy Energy

 

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