The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recently announced its first livestock quarantine
related to pollution from hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), a method of natural gas drilling. This occurred on a family-owned farm, in north-central Pennsylvania, that sits atop the Marcellus Shale, a layer of rock that covers vast areas of PA, New York state, West Virginia and Ohio. This rock formation has been found to be rich in natural gas deposits.
Fracking is a technique that has been in use in western states to drill for natural gas. More recently, it has been introduced to eastern states. Fracking has brought the west “polluted wastewater problems, large scale habitat disturbance, methane leaks from pipelines, and potentially serious health impacts that come along with the use of toxic chemicals in hydraulic fracturing.”
I’ve recently heard personally from 2 people who live in Texas and report that health problems due to natural gas drilling do indeed seem to be increasing – at least partly due to air pollution in areas where there is a proliferation of gas wells.
The incident in Pennsylvania isn’t the first report of farm animals being affected by fracking. As reported more than a year ago, 16 cattle died in Louisiana after drinking a mysterious fluid next to a drilling rig.
Although the quarantined cattle in Pennsylvania currently appear to be “happy, contented and fat” according to the owners of the farm, do you want to eat cows that have been dining on fields covered in benzene and diesel fuel?