Sierra Club’s Breaking News on Radon on Fracked Gas

Oct. 11, 2011
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
Contact: Gusti Swartz, Chair, Gas Drilling task Force,
Breaking News. The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter has received confirmation from testimony
submitted by James W. Ring, Winslow Professor Emeritus of nuclear physics at Hamilton College,
on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s revised draft Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement, regarding the dangers of inhaled radon and the likelihood that
shale gas extracted from the Marcellus will deliver radon into NYS residences at point of use. The
Spectra pipeline will deliver Marcellus shale gas from nearby Pennsylvania to New York
City homes, increasing the risk that residents will inhale radon when they turn on their
Professor, James W. Ring, Winslow Professor of Physics Emeritus, Hamilton College:
“Next to smoking, radon is the most potent cause of lung cancer. The radon and natural gas
coming from the shale mix together and travel together as the gas is piped to customers. This is a
serious health hazard, as radon––being a gas––is breathed into the lungs and lodges there to
decay, doing damage to the lungʼs tissue and eventually leading to lung cancer.”
In January, the Sierra Club moved to intervene in a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) proceeding to build a dangerous twenty-mile gas pipeline through Staten Island and
northern New Jersey to Manhattan. FERC received applications from Spectra Energy subsidiaries,
Texas Eastern Transmission and Algonquin Gas Transmission, to build the gas pipeline.
The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club has the following concerns about the Spectra pipeline:
• The Applicant (Spectra) argues that the environmental impact of the Con Ed segment of the
pipeline “does not warrant FERC review.” Interveners believe that the Con Ed segment
does warrant FERC review.
• The Atlantic Chapter asks FERC to consider the disposal of Polychlorinated-Biphenyls (PCBs)
that coat the interior of existing pipelines that will be replaced.
• The lack of protection of pipeline compressors and regulators from sabotage by such computer
malware as the “Stuxnet worm.”
• FERC needs to require the applicants to disclose the names of the landowners who lie in the
path of the proposed pipeline, currently withheld as “privileged and confidential.”
• There is a strong potential for lung cancer resulting from end user exposure to radon from
Marcellus shale gas delivered by this pipeline.
The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club joins close to five hundred individuals, community
organizations, and municipalities who have also filed papers to intervene in this proceeding, and
the approximately 3,200 citizens, to date, who have signed comment letters in opposition. 


Go to Democracy in Action to write to FERC that you know about this serious health hazard that they have not factored into their review of the dangers of the Spectra Pipeline.


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