AJN On the Cover
On our cover this month is a photograph of Washington County, Pennsylvania, resident Jenny Smitzer. The jar of contaminated tap water she holds turned that color after drilling for natural gas began in 2005 above her farm. Smitzer still showers in that water, but it is undrinkable, so she must drink bottled water. This photograph is one of more than four dozen on the subject of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by photographer Les Stone that appear on the Web site Photodocumentary by Les Stone (http://lesstonepublishorperish.blogspot.com), where he also writes about the harmful effects that extraction of natural gas from deep rock formations has had on rural Pennsylvania.
Eleven U.S. states currently engage in fracking, and eight more are either considering or preparing for this method of gas drilling. The gas-rich area called the Marcellus shale, which is located beneath parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia, is being targeted by energy companies for drilling. In June 2012, the American Nurses Association passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new drilling permits for fracking because of concern over the technique's potentially harmful impact on human health and the environment. This resolution, titled “Nurses' Role in Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Healthy Energy Choices,” also called on nurses to become engaged in energy policy. For more on the potential health hazards caused by fracking, see “Fracking, the Environment, and Health” in this issue.—Michael Fergenson, senior editorial coordinator