Oil & gas industry responds to Rolling Stone article
As the organization in charge of providing the general public with fact-based, educational information about Ohio’s important natural gas and oil industry, we’re deeply disappointed a recent article (“Rolling Stone Article Highlights Area Fracking Concerns,” Feb. 15) irresponsibly omitted key facts and context that is critical for readers to understand.
Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in natural gas and oil development are known, long studied, effectively regulated and managed to ensure the health and safety of workers and our communities.
Nearly everything we eat, touch, and come in contact with emits some form of radiation. A banana, for example, delivers a radiation dose according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The same applies to many other items such as, but not limited to, countertops, brick houses, and cross-country flights. According to the NRC, on average, Americans receive a radiation dose of about 620 millirems every year from a combination of both natural and man-made sources.
Context is key when we discuss – and report on – topics as important as this. When someone receives an abdominal CT scan, they will be delivered a radiation dose of 800 millirems. Due to the high altitudes, a person living in Denver, Colorado receives 119 millirems annually. A flight from New York to Los Angeles delivers 5 millirems. Working as a wastewater truck driver in the natural gas and oil industry results in less than 1 millirem annually.
Bottom line, independent, state led research into radiation in the Appalachian Basin has shown us that materials are managed properly and do not present a risk to the public. Appropriately managing naturally occurring radiation sources is an important issue and one that Ohio’s natural gas and oil operators and state regulators take very seriously. To intentionally omit facts and imply otherwise is dishonest and misleading.
Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program