Our reporting found toxic exposures in Pennsylvania families living near fracking. What do politicians have to say?
On March 1, EHN published Fractured, a 4-part series documenting the results of a two-year study on fracking and health, which found high levels of toxic chemicals in the bodies of Pennsylvania families in fracking communities.
In response to the reporting, 35 lawmakers representing both the state House and Senate issued a public letter calling on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to take "immediate action in response to the ongoing harm" from fracking.
EHN reached out to 37 other local and state lawmakers who didn't sign the letter to share our findings and request a response. Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto was among them.
Bill Peduto has served as Pittsburgh's Democratic mayor since 2014. He ran unopposed in 2017, but will be challenged by State Representative Ed Gainey in November, 2021.
EHN sent a brief summary of what our investigation found along with a short list of questions to Mayor Peduto and requested an interview.
Instead of agreeing to an interview or responding to our specific questions, Peduto's Communications Director Tim McNulty sent the following statement on behalf of the mayor:
Mayor Peduto is a longtime opponent of fracking, and while a City Councilman in 2010 co-authored a ban on fracking in Pittsburgh.
Negative impacts of fracking are well known in communities surrounding Pittsburgh such as Washington, Westmoreland, Butler and Beaver.
Pennsylvania policy makers should be doing more to blunt the impact on the environment, including adopting measures such as an impact fee, remediation fund, and empowerment of greater local zoning controls.
Mayor Peduto believes we need to stop the petrochemical industry from further expansion and chart a course for a more diverse, sustainable and just economic development strategy.
Banner photo: Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto. (Credit: Popscreenshot/Wikimedia Commons)