February 22, 2018

Why ‘Safe’ Regulation of Fracking of New York Is a Fiction

When industry has blocked the EPA from studying or regulating 70,000 chemicals, (from BPA and flame retardants to potent neurotoxins), since 1975, why would regulating fracking be possible?

Posing a safety debate tempts people to ignore the unsavory thirty-year history of industry blocking regulations aiming to protect public health. Instead of regulation, public officials have routinely allowed industries to unleash novel health hazards without either scientific study, protective legislation, accountability, or any plan for compensation for instances of harm. Whether it’s unstudied toxic chemicals in personal products, novel genetic materials in GMO foods, Corexit in the Gulf, antibiotic overuse in mass agriculture, or the latest iteration — radioactive metals to be recycled as zippers and eyeglasses, when government fails to study, regulate, or plan for the costs or waste management of industrial outputs, the burden of health harms and health costs is transferred to ordinary people. The singular focus on the economic bottom line pervasively masks the health bottom line. In the current regulatory and legislative context, the presumption that any dangerous but profitable practice could be regulated to be “done safely” is a PR inspired fiction.