Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Public Health Threat: Opponents Call For Immediate Delay of Ohio SB 315 Bill Vote Scheduled May 23

Frackfree Mahoning Valley                                  News Release
For Immediate Release: May 22, 2012
Contact: Susie Beiersdorfer: Phone: 234-201-0402 or E-mail:
Youngstown, Ohio – Citing a provision that they say could interfere in the private doctor-patient relationship, opponents of fracking and related processes say that they want an immediate delay of the vote by the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee on Senate Bill 315.
The group says that the doctors’ “gag rule,” as it has been dubbed, was quietly put into the bill, SB 315, after the public comment period had ended. The group is concerned that the general public and especially medical professionals have not yet been adequately informed about what is in the bill and its implications for doctors and their patients.
Donna Carver, who is a nurse, was quoted in an article found on and attributed to the Associated Press and NBC 4 (May 21, 2012, “Environmentalists Criticize Ohio Drilling Rules”). An excerpt follows:
“‘This clause, as written, gags doctors from notifying the health department of possible contamination and exposure to the public to these chemicals,’ Carver said. ‘This does not protect Ohio citizens public health but it protects the oil and gas industry from liability.’ “
See the news video of some of the testimony here:
Many groups who advocate a moratorium or ban on fracking thank the six senators who so wisely voted against SB 315 on May 15, 2012. These senators are: Sen. Cafaro, Sen. Sawyer, Sen. Schiavoni, Sen. Skindell, Sen. Tavares, and Sen. Turner. The groups appreciate that these legislators seem to be listening to the rapidly growing number of constituent concerns regarding the public interest and the health and safety of the people potentially affected by gas drilling, fracking and related processes.
Kari Matsko of the statewide group, People's Oil & Gas Collaborative-Ohio ( ), pointed to a States Comparison document saying, "Chemical disclosure provisions in other state laws mandate first responders and public health officials must be disclosed trade secret information where applicable, as opposed to laying all the responsibility on a medical professional as proposed in SB 315."
(See the document at: )
Geologist Susie Beiersdorfer of Frackfree Mahoning Valley ( ) said, “Anyone who votes yes on this bill, SB 315, as it stands today, I believe, is voting against the public interest as it relates to public health and safety. This bill is too important for all Ohio citizens and their families to let it be rushed through before Ohioans really know what the bill contains. We need an immediate delay on the voting in order to get public feedback on the bill, especially from medical professionals, physicians, and first responders, who, we believe, may not even know that this ‘gag order’ is being considered. It is the right thing to do, and we hope that the legislators will see the common sense and fairness of implementing this much-needed delay.”
The groups believe that there needs to be public comment and discussion on this gag rule and other unacceptable provisions of the bill, such as removing the public’s right to contest a drilling site.
Opponents of this bill want someone to step up to the plate to officially demand an immediate delay in voting on SB 315 planned for May 23. They believe that whoever does so will gain great public support for upholding the public interest and the interests of all Ohio families and citizens’ health and safety.
For media inquiries or more information, e-mail:
People’s Oil & Gas Collaborative – Ohio (POGCO):
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