Is Truck Traffic the Culprit in Fracking’s So-Called ‘Health Effects’

West Virginia University professor and researcher Dr. Michael McCawley, chairman of the Dept. of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, has been studying the health effects of fracking since 2012. Dr. McCawley launched the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL)–a project that drilled a test well is providing real-time air, noise, occupational safety and health monitoring over a five-year period (see WVU Launches 5-Year Study of Local Frack Site for Air, Noise, H&S). It is one of three such projects approved and funded (in part) by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. When Dr. McCawley theorizes on something to do with fracking, we sit up and take notice. He does not appear, to us, to have any ax to grind with drilling. He’s a researcher looking for answers to questions. We spotted a report by The Allegheny Front, a PBS program with an anti-drilling bent, but sometimes with good reports, interviewing Dr. McCawley about his newest theory as to whether or not, and how, fracking may have local health impacts. McCawley’s theory, after standing in the middle of Montrose, PA watching truck after truck after truck pass through town, is that the presence of so many trucks, most of them burning diesel fuel, may indeed impact people who live close to drilling sites. Diesel emissions in concentrated form are not good. Here’s what McCawley had to say, via Allegheny Front

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