Dirty Energy & Fuel Romney

Published on April 12th, 2012 | by Don Lieber

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Romney — "I'm for Everything." Are You for Benzene?

April 12th, 2012 by

 
mitt romney natural gas fracking benzene

In a heartfelt attempt to prove to the American public just how happily ignorant he is about the public health implications of energy policy, the 2012 Presidential challenger Mitt Romney said at an April 5 campaign stop in Pennsylvania:

“I’m actually for everything that comes from above, and everything that comes from below.”

Can you articulate that a little better, Mr. Romney?

Are you for Benzene?

In a new study, researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health have found benzene — a known carcinogen — along with several other toxic hydrocarbons (such as ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene) in the air near wells used for “fracking”.

“We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further [away],” the report said. “Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios.”

The study will be published in an upcoming edition of Science of the Total Environment.

The study also found trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes in the air — emissions associated with the hydrofracking process — all of which have neurological and/or respiratory effects, according to the study. Those effects could include eye irritation, headaches, sore throat and difficulty breathing.

The report, which looked at those living about a half-mile from the wells, comes in response to the rapid expansion of natural gas development in rural Garfield County, in western Colorado.

No, Mr. Romney, I hope you are indeed NOT for “everything” that comes from above or below despite your own words. Unless, of course, you are sincerely in favor of benzene.

Romney photo via shutterstock

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About the Author

Don Lieber has written extensively on international human rights, war and disarmament, and climate justice. His writings have have been published by the United Nations, The Associated Press, The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, DeSmog Blog, E-The Environmental Magazine, and others. He is a frequent contributor to PlanetSave. When not writing about climate change, he plays bass for the NYC-based band "Wifey".



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