Lancaster General Hospital Does Hypocrisy on Natural Gas

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


Lancaster General Hospital has, in perhaps the most glaring example of fracking hypocrisy ever, chosen to promote fractivist politics by one of its staff.

Perhaps it’s time for those who support using clean-burning natural gas to find a new hospital, if they live in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. In the fall edition of The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital, an anti-fossil fuel doctor who practices at the hospital published an outrageous political smear job pretending to be a scientific article. It is full of lies about natural gas, its extraction and its “pollution” of the environment. Worse, Lancaster General Hospital, like the radical nuns of Lancaster County, and with stunning hypocrisy brags about its own natural gas use.

Dr. Alan S. Peterson, M.D., who specializes in geriatrics (he’s 71 himself), is an anti-driller with a history of activism against the shale industry. In an article in the Fall issue of the Journal, Peterson quotes a number of discredited “studies” funded with money from Big Green groups to make a case against the shale industry.

Unfortunately, the article is dressed up scientific garb, giving it the illusion of accuracy. It is nothing more than typical anti hoo-ha. Two weeks ago Dr. Peterson also penned an op-ed for a local Lancaster news outlet opposing a plan to fix dramatically slow response times at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) when issuing permits related to shale drilling. Peterson is political, plain and simple—and he opposes the extraction of fossil fuels, which says all you need to know about him and about Lancaster General Hospital, although there’s more.

Here is the Peterson article from the Fall 2017 issue of The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital, quoting, incredibly enough, wholly discredited research from Wolf Eagle Environmental study of Dish, Texas along with other junk science:

Here’s Peterson’s recent op-ed at Lancaster Online bad-mouthing a plan to fix the DEP:

Without significant public debate, state House bills 542, 453, and 118 put Pennsylvanians in harm’s way by undermining the commonwealth’s legal procedures in unprecedented ways. These bills, if passed, would violate our protective constitutional environmental rights and limit our ability to protect our environment and human health.

Outsourcing the Department of Environmental Protection’s duties to unconventional gas development, commonly referred to as “fracking,” institutionalizing the fracking industry’s influence, allowing environmental injustices to deepen, and misappropriating funds threaten our human health. The Environmental Rights Amendment protects our “right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”

Meanwhile, 80 percent of peer-reviewed scientific studies looking specifically at health impacts of fracking document risks or actual harms that include a broad array of negative impacts. The consequences range from community disruption to adverse climate effects, from earthquakes to contamination of air, water and soil that can enter the human body through skin contact, respiration or ingestion, potentially leading to a wide range of health harms, according to a recent study published in the scientific journal PLOS.

House Bill 542 creates a potential for serious conflicts of interest from within the natural gas industry by allowing permit applicants to choose their own private reviewers. It also arbitrarily approves unconventional gas development permit applications that the DEP does not process quickly enough to please the industry, putting our public health and the environment at risk. It allows legislators to amend the Air Pollution Control Act in a way that replaces the DEP’s regulatory authority with appointees that lack the scientific and engineering expertise that should protect the health of Pennsylvanians.

Adequately funding the DEP would resolve any justification for these overly risky procedural changes. Yet, House Bill 453 transfers funds from a $30.4 million settlement intended to protect the state’s air quality and public health impact to the general fund without increasing DEP’s budget. It decreases the investment in the Environmental Stewardship Fund by eliminating $15 million from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund and creates expensive wasteful bureaucracy by arbitrarily auditing the Susquehanna and Delaware river basin commissions that effectively protect against risks to human and aquatic health.

House Bill 118 would permit the coal industry to discharge manganese, a toxic substance that impacts the central nervous system of humans and wildlife within five miles of known drinking water supplies, which is significantly closer than federal guidelines allow under safe drinking water standards; and grants three unconventional gas development sites owned by Fluid Recovery Services to operate until 2020 without addressing the known issues of water pollution that include arsenic, chlorides, and other heavy metals.

The fiscal year 2017-18 state budget continues and exacerbates a trend over the last 20 years of decimating the funding used to protect public health and its related component — our precious environment — at a time when climate disruption demands just the opposite. House bills 542, 118, 453 should be rejected along with any provisions that work against the protection of the environment and human health.

Ask your state House representative to reject all three bills.

Alan S. Peterson, M.D., a family physician involved in environmental medicine in Lancaster County for 42 years, is a resident of Pequea Township. He is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.*

Physicians for Social Responsibility is a radical organization (far outside the mainstream), adamantly opposed to fossil fuels and Kool-Aid drinkers from the man-made global warming school of thought.

Editor’s Note: What is truly astounding about Lancaster General Hospital publishing this political junk in September is the fact it was only March (six months ago) when it was bragging about the then upcoming “debut [of] a $28 million, natural gas-powered, state-of-the-art energy center” profiled here:

“While electricity reliability is at an all-time high, LGH’s tolerance for failure is literally zero. During surgery or at other critical moments in patient care, even a flicker of power has the potential to impact outcomes, said Troy Hafer, the Lancaster-based Benchmark Construction’s project manager for the energy center.
“In our homes and offices, we’ve all experienced periodic electricity failures,” he said, adding that in contrast, natural gas has a track record of uninterrupted service…

Lancaster General PipelineThe health system also took the opportunity to enhance efficiencies by adding a chilling function to the existing electrical and heating capabilities, building a tri-generation system that creates electricity, heating and cooling from a single source.  Additionally, excess heat from the system’s turbine will be used to fire a new heat recovery steam boiler, which in turn creates steam. This steam will be used by LGH for cooking, humidification, food-prep services, HVAC, sterilization, and laundry services. This single boiler will handle all the hot water needs for the entire facility, enabling the hospital’s remaining three boilers to be on stand-by.

Apparently, neither the editor of the hospital’s journal nor Dr. Peterson has the slightest familiarity with what’s really happening at Lancaster General Hospital or, worse, don’t care. Unbelievable!

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