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Fracking is a public health concern

Ohio Environmental Council, October 13, 2015

As a nurse and a grandmother, Ingrid Kelley has concerns about fracking in Ohio.

Since receiving her LPN degree in Canton, Ohio, Ingrid’s nursing career has run the gamut from pediatric care to assisting with heart and lung transplants. For over thirty years, Ingrid has worked to save lives.

Early in her career, Ingrid moved to Texas, but her family kept their beloved parcel of land in Carroll County, Ohio. When Texas summers got too hot, Ingrid and her children would return to this beautiful place to swim in Leesville Lake and enjoy gorgeous Ohio summers.

Ingrid inherited the Carroll County property in 2011. Shortly after, a gas company approached her with an offer to lease her family’s land for fracking. She immediately turned it down. She knew too much about the effects of fracking on human health to sign a lease.

“There is not a system in the body not affected. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is bad,” she says of fracking waste.

Ingrid understands the temptation to sign lucrative leases offered by oil and gas companies. She previously leased her property in Texas and regretted the decision almost immediately. “Once you sign a lease you sign away your right to sue for damages or anything else. These agreements leave you vulnerable in the event of an explosion, leaks from faulty wells, or a chemical spill.”

Through Ingrid’s research, she’s discovered a host of medical issues tied to the chemicals used in frack water: Cancer-causing agents such as radon, benzene, and formaldehyde in alarmingly high concentrations. Four separate studies have confirmed a link between fracking and premature births, disrupted fetal development, and other reproductive issues.

In fact, in 2012, the American Nurses Association (ANA) called for a moratorium on fracking until its effects on human health could be studied further. Meanwhile, oil and gas companies claim hydraulic fracturing is “safe”, but fail to define what “safe” means. The companies dispute the validity of medical findings from Yale, The Public Library of Science,and other credible institutions. These companies fight to undermine any and all scientific data that casts fracking in an unfavorable light.

According to Ingrid, in 2015, her family property in Ohio was taken for fracking use through a process called forced unitization. Despite a ten-page plea to a state regulatory agency, Ingrid’s land is being fracked against her will. She recently made a trip to Carroll County and saw the machinery near her family land.

“This land was going to be my retirement dream and now it’s a nightmare,” she says. She feels unsafe about her grandchildren playing on this land.

As the drills bore deep beneath the land around her family home, Ingrid persists in her fight to inform and protect the public from the health effects of fracking in Ohio and beyond.

You can join Ingrid in this fight. To learn more about our plans to secure stronger fracking protections in Ohio, visit the Act on Fracking campaign page. If you live in fracking country and want to get involved, please fill out this brief form.