Resolution of the Medical Society of the State of New York

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MSSNY Resolution (revised HOD  version)

Resolution-2015-  # 159

Introduced by:     Sheila Bushkin-Bedient, MD, MPH

Sandhya Malhotra MD,

Subject:               Protecting Public Health from Natural Gas Infrastructure

Referred to:         Public Health Committee

Whereas, after a thorough investigation by Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD,  and DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens, concerning the potential adverse  public health  and environmental outcomes associated with  exposure to chemical and radioactive emissions and waste products from High Volume, Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing  (HVHF), Governor Andrew Cuomo determined that this energy technology posed too great a threat to the long-term health and quality of life for New Yorkers, and ultimately banned the process within the State of New York on December 17, 2014, and

Whereas, the chemical and radioactive emissions  associated with HVHF are not limited to the drilling and extraction technologies at wellpads, but are also detected all along the extensive, intersecting network of natural gas pipelines, Compressor Stations, Metering Stations and other facilities associated with the entire natural gas infrastructure1,2 ,and

Whereas, this extensive infrastructure extends into regions of New York State and other Northeastern states that are located far away from the Marcellus Shale region and from the actual drilling sites or wellpads3, and

Whereas, the pipeline infrastructure  exposes humans  and animals to the same  chemical and radioactive emissions as those released at drilling sites, which include  dangerous mixtures of contaminants such as carcinogens, mutagens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, respiratory irritants, mucocutaneous irritants and toxins,  and hematological, and cardiovascular toxins,  and  which are especially damaging to the development of embryos,  fetuses, and  children, as well as reproduction and survival of livestock, poultry and wild animals4-6,, and

Whereas, The Medical Society of the State of New York already has a policy which expresses the concern of physicians for adverse health effects related to  HVHF, which states that “The Medical Society of the State of New York supports a moratorium on natural gas extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State until valid information is available to evaluate the process for its potential effects on human health and the environment” (Council Action, December 9, 2010, which was reaffirmed in 2013), and

Whereas, transmission and distribution of natural gas through the extensive, far-reaching infrastructure can cause adverse health effects similar to those seen near drilling sites for HVHF,  and

Whereas, there is documented evidence of  frequent “accidents” involving infrastructure components, due to faulty construction, and general breakdown including, but not limited to internal and external corrosion, stress corrosion, welding failure at pipeline seams,  damage to existing pipelines during construction of nearby new pipelines, damage to existing pipelines during agricultural activities, leading to chemical leaks,  explosions, and fires 7, and

Whereas these “accidents” can result in injury and death to humans, as well as damage to the homes, farms, and businesses of local residents8, and

Whereas, pipelines and Compressor Stations have been documented to sustain damage during natural extreme weather events such as floods, tornados, hurricanes, landslides, and lightning storms8, and result in explosions, fires and other life-threatening events, and

Whereas, the pipeline infrastructure in New York State involves  between  53,542 – 89,705 miles of natural gas pipeline9,10, with Compressor Stations located every 50-100 miles along these pipelines, and

Whereas, the compressor stations are powered by exceedingly strong engines varying from 2,250 Hp up to more than 70,000 Hp, which operate  continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year,  and routinely “vent” methane gas into the environment, and

Whereas, the permitting process to proceed with proposed expansions of various infrastructure segments depends upon the environmental risk assessment conducted by the  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and

Whereas, FERC is considering  proposals  by  multiple  natural gas pipeline companies to expand the system of pipelines and compressor stations throughout New York State, including Rockland, Westchester, and  Putnam counties (Spectra Algonguin)11,  Orange county (Millenium/Minisink)12, Delaware county (Millenium/Hancock)13,  Schoharie county (Constitution/Wright Interconnect Project) 14, and  Chemung, Madison, and Montgomery counties (Dominion/New Market Project)15,   therefore be it

Resolved, that the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) recognizes the potential impact on  human health and the environment associated with natural gas infrastructure, and be it further

Resolved, that MSSNY support governmental assessment of the health and environmental risks that are associated with natural gas pipelines, and be it further,

Resolved, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the AMA for consideration in its House of Delegates.


  1. McKain M, Down A, Raciti SM, et al; Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts,  Proc Nat Acad Sci U.S.A.; 2015, 112(7):1941-6 (ISSN:1091-6490)

  1. Jackson, RB, Down A, Phillips NG, et al, Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks across Washington, DC; Env Sci Tech,2014, 48:2051-8

  1. Pipeline Safety Trust: State by State Pipeline Information

  1. Bamberger, M, Oswald R,  Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health, New Solutions;     2012;22(1):51-77. doi: 10.2190/NS.22.1.e.

  1. Colborn T, Kwiatkowski C,  Schultz K, Bachran K,  Natural Gas Operation from a Public Health Perspective, Hum  Ecol Risk Assess: An International Journal, 2011, 17(5):1039-56

  1. Webb E, Bushkin-Bedient S, Kassotis C et al, Developmental and Reproductive Effects of Exposure to Chemicals Associated with Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Operations; Rev Env Health; 2014, 29(4):307-318

  1. Peter Kinsey Health, Safety, Security,  & Environmental (HSSE) Management Consulting Services for the Pipeline Construction Industry  (See Tab: ‘Accidents and lessons learned”)

  1. List of Pipeline Accidents in the United States in the 21st Century; Wikipedia

  1. Pipeline Safety Trust; Pipeline mileage by state, as of 2013:

  1. Pipeline Miles and Facilities in New York State as of 3/12/2015:

11.Spectra Energy, New Projects, Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project

  1. Christopher E. Smith, “Millennium expands capacity with Minisink compressor station” Oil & Gas Journal, June 5, 2013
  1. Millennium Pipeline Company, Recent Projects, Hancock Compressor,

  1. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Draft Environmental Impact Statement Constitution Pipeline and Wright Interconnect Projects, 2014

  1. Dominion Transmission, Inc. New Market Project,


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