Via America’s Lawyer: Children living near a PA fracking well are found to have multiple biochemicals accumulate in their bodies. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more. Then, as sea levels rise and coastlines shrink, Hawaii becomes the first state to declare a climate emergency. RT correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to explain how state and federal lawmakers are taking steps to meet the worsening climate crisis head-on.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Well look, a new study has revealed that fracking chemicals are being found in the bodies of children in Pennsylvania. Now, between you and me, that’s no surprise. We were, I think you and I were reporting about this easily 15 years ago. I mean, I think that’s about when we started talking about fracking and back then we were saying, you know, why is it that they’re keeping all the chemicals that they use in fracking such a secret. They were being sued in multiple jurisdictions for one thing and that is, just tell us the chemicals that you’re using. We want to know whether they’re going to kill our children. We, we saw examples of being able to set, set fire to water that was coming out of spickets and we knew, okay, that might be benzene. It might be toluene. It might be styrene. It could be any number of things that are causing that, that combustion. But they kept it secret and the, the, let’s see. The, the Bush administration allowed them to keep it secret. The Obama administration allowed them to keep it secret. It looks like now the secret’s out. What do you think?

Farron Cousins:                  I think we’re going to see more studies like this, especially now that this one has come out and this one was really only done, I think it was five households around a fracking site in Pennsylvania. But the, the numbers, the number of chemicals found in, in the children were absolutely through the roof. I’m talking about, you know, a hundred times more than the acceptable level of endocrine disruptors, of chemicals that are known to be carcinogen, carcinogenic. I mean, these children through no fault of their own are going to go through a life of long-term health problems, possibly a life that is dramatically cut short because these fracking companies are allowed to do what they’re doing with very little regulation, because that goes back decades with the Halliburton rule and they’re, they’re, they’re getting away with it right now. But as more studies come out, it’s going to be harder and harder for them to get away with this and that’s, you know, where people like you come in to take these people to court, to get some justice for these individuals and ultimately that is where this heads, probably within just a few years, I imagine.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, what’s the biggest problem is what the fracking industry has done is they’ve bought up all the biostitutes. A biostitute of course, you’ve heard me use the term as somebody that works, a scientist that works at a university and a scientist that’s out there trying to moonlight and make some extra cash by writing an article. They’ve done a really good job of hiring all the biostitutes. We see that happen all the time. We’ve seen it, you know, we’ve seen it with Roundup. We’ve seen it with dozens and dozens of chemicals. We’ve seen it with pharmaceutical cases. So right now they’re ahead, they’re ahead in the science game and so what Pennsylvania has allowed to happen is we now, if these numbers are even remotely correct, we’re seeing that the values a dozen times higher of things like benzene in the human body or toluene, in the human body. These aren’t just carcinogens. They shut down the liver, they shut down the kidneys. There’s some relationship to, to birth defects with some of these. But nevertheless, Pennsylvania rocks on and says, well, we’re making a lot of money and the deaths and the illness, maybe it’s worth it. What is your take?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, one of the reasons Pennsylvania’s so bad on the issue of fracking too, by the way, and you and I, you and I have discussed this in the past so it’s worth bringing up again, is because this is an area where you had the Koch brothers come in with their little shadow organizations and they were funding all the races, Pennsylvania and Ohio, for things even including school board, to be able to allow fracking sites closer to schools. So, so this is a long time, you know, in the making here and now we’re finally starting to see these ramifications. But again, you know, as we’re talking about here, these children are basically being robbed of the opportunity to have a healthy life. You know, that’s the bottom line here and yes, the parents as well, they’ve, they’ve got the chemicals in them too. So this is going to be a persistent problem that stretches far beyond Pennsylvania.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, ultimately what happens is taxpayers pay for all of this, Farron. Taxpayers have to foot the medical bills that are going to take place, the disability bills that are going to take place. They’re going to have to foot the bills to clean up the waterways and the aquifers. These fracking companies come in here, they, they absolutely destroy aquifers, entire aquifers. They destroy, they, they, they destroy ecosystems in a sense and then the taxpayer 15 years later has to come in and they have to clean it up. By then, you have the fracking company that’s put all these billions of dollars in their pocket. It’s a great deal for them and taxpayers are left footing the bill.

Mike Papantonio:             Hawaii is the first state to declare a climate emergency setting an example for the rest of the country to follow. Brigida Santos is here to talk with me about this right now. Brigida, what, what’s in Hawaii’s new Senate resolution? How far does this thing go?

Brigida Santos:                   State Senate concurrent resolution 44 declares that climate change is a threat to the environment and humans and requests statewide cooperation in addressing the adverse effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and the global temperature, coastal erosion and protecting critical infrastructure. While the resolution is largely symbolic, it also calls on Hawaii’s government to prohibit private investment and public subsidies in projects that exacerbate climate change like coal oil, gas, or tree burning. It also calls on the government to promote policies and infrastructure to replace fossil fuels with solar wind or battery storage by 2030. The state is taking action based on global scientific evidence and its own climate problems.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, it’s a non-binding resolution, but at least they’re doing something to get out there and say, we’re paying attention to it. Our beaches are eroding. We have sea levels that are rising. Our infrastructure’s at risk and we have to do something, even though the feds aren’t doing what they need to do, we need to do something on our own. How has climate change impacted Hawaii besides, you know, besides the fact that right now they see their islands disappearing from erosion?

Brigida Santos:                   Yeah. Well, climate change has led to more droughts on Hawaii’s islands, which greatly impact indigenous communities, deteriorate freshwater streams and rivers, and reduce access to water. Rising sea levels have resulted in long-term coastal erosion to 70% of the beaches in Kauai, Oahu and Maui. Local governments on several islands had already previously declared climate emergencies back in 2019. But the new state-wide declaration now acknowledges the urgency of this problem and aims to solve some of the most pressing issues.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. I’m wondering Brigida, are you seeing any signs that other States are planning similar actions? I, you know, Florida comes to my mind, all the coastal States coming to my mind, this would seem like a good idea. But what, what’s your, what have you followed on that?

Brigida Santos:                   Sure. Many States in the US are now regularly experiencing climate change related catastrophes from deep freezes to debilitating droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and storms. At least 33 States have now released a climate action plan or have one in the works. And these plans typically set goals targeting greenhouse gas emissions, or focus on shifting to renewable energy sources. But so far, Hawaii is the only US state to declare an official climate emergency. Now, back in February, there was a house resolution introduced at the federal level to declare a national climate emergency. And the Biden administration has spoken about advancing climate policies at home and internationally. But we’ll have to see how that plays out. And across the globe, nearly 2000 jurisdictions in 34 countries, have also declared climate emergencies. So it seems like people are finally paying attention. But is it going to be too little too late? We’ll have to wait and see.

Mike Papantonio:             Brigida, thank you for joining me. This is an important story. Hopefully, some state leaderships will be listening to what Hawaii has figured out. Thank you for joining me.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.