Protect Our Children parent Amy Nassif shared with us her story about why it is important to her that fracking is stopped near schools and children. Her words echo what so many parents feel when facing the threat of oil and gas development in their neighborhood. Read her story here:
In March of 2014 the Mars Area School District was approached by Rex Energy for a subsurface lease of school district property. The originating well pad’s location at the Geyer farm is 3/4 mile away from the school campus of 3,200 children. Parent’s aware of the ramifications of this lease and proximity of the well site quickly joined together to implore the school board to reject the lease.
The Greene county well site explosion of February 2014 which required a one mile evacuation zone and had a blast zone of 800’ was an immediate concern of many parents. In addition, as parents began to research further, there were more examples of incidents and accidents that required 1-2 mile evacuation zones. Research regarding health impacts of those within 1-2 miles of well sites from PSE Healthy Energy, SWPA-EHP, Dr. Jerome Paulson, UPMC and others was compiled and the group of parents shared that information with the school board, local township officials, and state officials.
The school board did reject the lease, but plans moved forward to drill at the Geyer site without the school district property. The group of parents, myself included, continued to focus on the health and safety of the children in school and asked our community leaders to not allow unconventional gas drilling near the schools. It is not one study in particular that alarms me, it is the accumulation of studies that all refer to health and safety risks when in close proximity to a well site.
As an advocate focusing on the health and safety of my children and the other children in the district I never imagined that I would be criticized let alone sued for exercising my First Amendment right to speak about protecting our children. When I realized that it was local residents who were demanding financial compensation for a delay in full-filling a speculative lease agreement with Rex Energy, I was in complete shock and utterly devastated. Despite this new lawsuit, I remain committed to the health and safety of children. Unconventional gas drilling, a heavy industrial operation with well documented health and safety risks, does not belong near children.
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