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Anti-Fracking Advocates Organizing Parents

People living near fracked gas wells are four times more likely to experience an asthma attack. (Kelly/
People living near fracked gas wells are four times more likely to experience an asthma attack. (Kelly/
August 16, 2016

PHILADELPHIA - A coalition of organizations is helping parents learn about the hazards fracking may pose to children, and how to organize to protect their kids. Pennsylvania accounts for nearly 40 percent of the shale gas produced in the United States. Thousands of wells have been drilled, some close to residential areas and schools.

Gillian Graber, outreach coordinator for Protect Our Children, said they have collected the resource parents need to become informed and to challenge proposed drilling near them.

"Because we know that the gas industry is always a step ahead, and we want to make sure that folks that want to organize are able to do so quickly and efficiently," she said.

The Protect Our Children website offers resources on the effects of fracking as well as tips on creating local campaigns.

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that those living near fracked gas wells are four times more likely to have an asthma attack. And Graber pointed out that children are especially susceptible.

"There are a lot of problems that adults are not going to encounter that children could encounter as far as air quality and water quality goes, when you're talking about human health concerns and fracking," she added.

In the coming week, the Protect Our Children Coalition will be releasing a new guide to community organizing around fracking. Graber said that will include links to tools such as an interactive map showing the location of wells, compressor stations and pipelines.

"And really identify potential harms to children with the proximity from their schools and where the infrastructure currently is and possibly where proposed infrastructure would be in the future," she said.

Graber added the toolkit helps streamline the process of identifying communities most at risk of future oil and gas development.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA