Public Health Association Policy -- Fracking, Nutrient Runoff

January 8, 2013 08:18 AM

The following is an excerpt of a press release from The American Public Health Association that outlines increased scrutiny on a number of issues including hydraulic fracking. Fracking has given the United States the opportunity to become self-sufficient on increased domestic crude oil and natural gas production. A by-product of inexpensive natural gas in a stable domestic market would be lower costs for fertilizers. Without domestic natural gas in good supply at an attractive price, prices for Nitrogen fertilizers would be more slavish to the international markets via imports.

The report covers a wide base of topics. Another pertinent topic relates to runoff from point and nonpoint sources. This speaks to the advent of state-to-state Nutrient Reduction Strategies along the Mississippi River. So far, where farm runoff is concerned, the approach of the EPA has been to ask for voluntary efforts rather than enforcing regulations. But as the debate over nutrient runoff heats up, it is vital that growers stay updated on these developments.

An excerpt from the press release follows:

"The American Public Health Association adopted 12 policy statements during its 2012 Annual Meeting last fall. The policy statements address a wide array of public health topics ranging from the environmental and health concerns of fracking, to taxing sugar sweetened beverages, to a call for cessation of military recruitment in schools. The policy statements are now available online and searchable in APHA's policy statement database at

20125 Health impacts of fracking – Considering the environmental and occupational health impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of unconventional gas reserves, calls for increased public health capacity to monitor, regulate and respond to fracking in local communities. Recommends adoption of regulations that take a precautionary and adaptive approach. Calls for protecting worker health and promoting the role of public health professionals in natural gas extraction activities and for the public health community to advocate for planning and policy approaches that take into account the uncertainty around fracking.

20126 Coastal watersheds, waters and human health – Calls for improving management of modern environmental insults to address emerging pollutants, failing infrastructure, climate change and industrial operations. Calls for strengthening the capacity of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement federal water quality rules and strengthening national standards for the reduction of pollution through an emphasis on preventing runoff at the source. Also calls for building capacity at the state and local levels to administer watershed protections."

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