Scene from the documentary ‘Gasland’ in which a homeowner lights his tap water on fire.
Barely one day after the news of a 10,000+ gallon toxic spill near Parachute, Colo., threatening the spring mountain runoff into the Colorado River and the state's water supply, the news that Colorado doctors have been muzzled came as a shocker. According to a Denver Post article yesterday (‘Colorado Docs Chafe at Secrecy Oath Required’, p. 4A) doctors in our state must now sign a “confidentiality pledge” in order to obtain information on chemicals used for fracking by the oil and gas industry. This is information they may need to take care of their patients and protect the public health, i.e. from rampaging carcinogenics which we may already may be drinking (after 555 toxic spills the past two years, most within 1500’ of ground water supplies)
As the Post article notes: “A state requirement that doctors sign Form 35, developed last year by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, aims to protect industry trade secrets while also letting doctors fulfill duties.
But the Colorado Medical Society contends the form does not protect doctors from punishment for sharing information about chemicals with other medical professionals and public health authorities. No doctor has signed the form.”
And why should they when it’s obviously a blatant muzzle? A device to protect the toxic polluters in the fracking industry so they're allowed to run amuck in our state, poisoning our already dwindling water supplies as they use them up (with 5 million gals. wasted per fracked well). The fact that two state departments, ostensibly with the mandate to protect the public welfare, are working in collusion with the gas –oil industry is an abomination enough. Hickenlooper, the governor, and all his clones ought to be ashamed of themselves!
But now to add insult to injury and try to muzzle doctors is beyond even the level of atrocity. As one doctor (Michael Pramenko of Grand Junction) quoted in the piece put it:
“I would have very mixed feelings about signing a form that tells me I could not be proactive about sharing this information with the Health Department.”
He went on to add
“To me, if there’s a chemical in the environment and there are potentially other people being exposed it does not make sense from a health standpoint to not be sharing that information.”
Then there is the very likely scenario, as noted by a Medical Society attorney (ibid.), that one or more patients could be presenting symptoms attributable to an unknown toxic chemical. Perhaps a rash that won’t abate, vomiting, dizziness …who knows? Who can forget the horrific California pollution story on which the film ‘Erin Brockovitch’ was based. Brockovitch, in that story, finally turned up the chemical (hexavalent chromium) that was causing hundreds of cancers in a small town. Of course industry wants to keep such things secret! That’s their warp and woof!
In a way this latest 'Form' 35 maneuver is evocative of the ploy used by the toxic sludge fertilizer industry when they attempted to halt publication of the book 'Toxic Sludge is Good For You' - the handbook for recognizing all PR meisters and hacks. Especially, the mutants that want to try to convince the average American that putting shit mixed with benzene, dioxins etc. all over crops is good for them. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, the authors, noted the efforts of the sludge industry to try to get them to back off, insisting that all the materials in the sludge were "organic" waste, not toxic. But when the authors investigated they found out differently! Not only was the sludge laced with hundreds of unpronounceable toxic industrial chemicals, but sewage as well. And they exposed the fact the producers were attempting to use it as a cheap way to get rid of waste-effluent. Hey, why not? If you can make $$$ from it! Never mind the ten thousand kids that get gastro-enteritis!
Look, folks, we have a mounting battle with these vermin as cancer rates ramp up across the nation. We need to force our political hacks, wherever they reside, to back off from promoting the poisoning of us all, as well as adding to our costly health care burden. Don't do it for me, do it for yourselves, your kids, their kids...
If nothing is done, and we just sit back and allow these industrial energy maggots to crap all over us, what do you suppose the world will be like in 10 years? In 20? Do you want your kids suffering from enormous liver tumors, or pancreatic cancer? THINK about that! And then find out if fracking is going on in your state and if it is pull out the stops to halt it. And while you're at it,. make sure to keep pressure on Obama not to sign that Keystone XL pipeline deal either. It's the ONE thing he can do without the need for a congressional vote.
But it does take balls.