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July 19, 2016

Anti-fracking advocates to march down Market Street prior to DNC

Demonstration follows study linking fracking to increased risk of asthma attacks

DNC2016 Protests
032715_fracking3 Keith Srakocic/AP

In this photo made on Wednesday, July 27, 2011, a Pennsylvania worker stands on top of a storage bin as the dust of the powder used to make a mixture with water used in the hydraulic fracturing process billows above.

Thousands of environmental advocates will march throughout Philadelphia on Sunday, prior to the Democratic National Convention, urging Pennsylvania officials to ban fracking for natural gas in favor of renewable energy solutions.

The "March for a Clean Energy Revolution" will begin at noon on Sunday and will take protesters from City Hall to Independence Hall. Several thousand people from varying environmental groups are expected to march the mile between the two sites.

The demonstrators will call on Gov. Tom Wolf to implement a moratorium and, eventually, a ban against fracking in Pennsylvania.

The march will occur one day before the DNC kicks off at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Wells Fargo Center. The Democratic Party platform includes a declaration of a "climate emergency," but it does not include calls to ban fracking or tax carbon emissions. 

The march follows a recent Johns Hopkins study that linked fracking to an increased risk of asthma attacks in Pennsylvania. The study found Pennsylvanians who resided closer to unconventional natural gas development sites had "significantly higher odds" of suffering from mild, moderate and severe asthma exacerbations.

Larysa Dyrszka, a doctor who has studied the effects of fracking in Pennsylvania, called the study's findings "alarming."

"I've grown increasingly concerned about the health effects of drilling and fracking, as more and more residents report the same symptoms, which include troubled breathing, nose bleeds, rashes and more," Dyrszka said.

Neighboring states have taken steps against fracking. New York banned fracking in 2015 following a moratorium first issued in 2008. Maryland has a moratorium in place until 2017.