Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Lack of funds delays project on ill effects of drilling

A well-formulated and much-advertised plan by two Pennsylvania-based health companies to study the results of gas drilling is still in the initial stages as the companies look for grants to aid their project. A second group that has been looking for comparable solutions is focusing on the quality of the air, as the workers who have complained of health problems related to drilling will not answer questions about those problems.

The two health companies, Geisinger Health Systems and Guthrie Health of Sayre are still in the initial phase of inquiring how individuals are affected by the activity of gas drilling. A spokesperson for Geisinger stated that a local charitable organization has given $100,000, and that the company is looking for more financial assistance. According to the spokesperson, the amount that has been received will help with the initial planning and some of the preliminary research. Guthrie, however, has yet to receive any funding.

Both health care organizations take care of numerous patients who live in the region in which Marcellus Shale gas drilling occurs. Apart from creating jobs, gas drilling has also generated revenue worth billions of dollars for some organizations and individual leaseholders. Federal and state supervisory boards consider hydraulic fracturing safe when performed appropriately and add that numerous wells have been drilled with little protests regarding pollution.

However, eco-friendly organizations and some medical practitioners insist that the rules are not strict enough and that current practices could result in both air and groundwater pollution.

The gas drilling in the Pennsylvania region might also lead to unforeseen danger to the workers' health and to those who live in the region. A worker's health is closely linked to the workplace environment. Therefore, requisite grants made available to the two organizations that are studying the ill effects of gas drilling can help ensure adequate health measures to the gas drilling workers.

Source: The State Journal, "Studies on health impacts of drilling seek funds," Sept. 2, 2012

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