DENVER (CBS4)– A debate over the health impacts of fracking is being played out at the state Capitol between Democrats and Republicans.
The Democrats want a new study on the health impacts but Republicans call it a fishing expedition.
“There has never been a health risk analysis done on the Front Range,” said Rep. Joann Ginal, a Democrat representing Fort Collins.
Ginal said despite all the studies on fracking they’re all missing that important component. While there are a lot of studies on air and water quality none of them, according to Ginal, make a correlation to the health of people.
A similar bill was announced last year. This year’s measure has made it out of two committees and lawmakers have approved the funding for the study, $700,000.
Ginal has introduced a bill that would direct the Department of Health to analyze health and quality of life impacts in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld Counties. That analysis would include a review of existing studies and a survey of people who live there.
“I’m not saying that this is what you’re going to find but it could be asthma, could be some other type of respiratory problems, cardiovascular problems, we just don’t know,” said Ginal.
When asked what happens if they do find something, Ginal replied, “If we do find anything it may go to a broader study.”
“It is a politically-motivated witch hunt,” said Rep. Frank McNulty, a Republican representing Highlands Ranch.
McNulty said not only is it unclear how the data will be used but exactly what data will be collected.
“This study doesn’t have defined sideboards, it doesn’t have a defined scientific goal. It seems more like a public opinion survey and in my opinion that’s not a good place to start making public policy,” said McNulty.
Ginal insists she’s going in with an open mind, “If we don’t find anything from the data than that’s information we can utilize to say that.”
The analysis could take up to three years.
The bill was being debated on the state House floor Wednesday night.