All CATEGORIES
☰ Menu
Ohio Utica Shale

$1 million grant to help fund Pennsylvania health study

By Bob Downing Published: February 18, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A Pennsylvania health company says it has gotten a $1 million grant to study possible health impacts of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus shale.

Geisinger Health System said Monday that the Degenstein Foundation had awarded the money to help underwrite what it called a "large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment" of the drilling.

Most of the money will be used for data-gathering, and some will go toward developing studies of the data. Officials said they expect other funders to come forward.

The study is to look at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near wells and other facilities that are producing natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation thousands of feet underground. The boom in drilling has generated jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for companies and individual leaseholders, but it also raised health concern.

Geisinger Health Systems of Danville, Guthrie Health of Sayre and Susquehanna Health will collaborate on planning and execution of the study, including developing a health surveillance network aimed at assessing and reporting on the patient data gathered from electronic health records.

"The goal is to create a cross-disciplinary, integrated and sharable repository of data on environmental exposures, health outcomes and community impacts of Marcellus shale drilling — the first systematic longitudinal study to do so," the announcement said. "Some of the potential health effects that are likely to be investigated first include asthma, trauma and cardiovascular disease."

Preliminary results could be available within the next year, while other findings are expected in five years and over the next two decades.

Many federal and state regulators say hydraulic fracturing is safe when done properly, and that thousands of wells have been drilled with few complaints of pollution. But environmental groups and some doctors assert that regulations still aren't tough enough and that the practice can pollute groundwater and air.

A decision earlier this month by state regulators in New York to delay a decision on shale gas development pending a more in-depth health study in that state drew praise from environmental groups but protests from landowners eager to reap profits from their mineral resources and frustrated at another delay in a rulemaking process that has kept drilling on hold for 4½ years.

Health Commissioner Nirav Shah cited Geisinger's planned study as one of several that have been initiated or published by the scientific community. Also cited was an EPA study on potential impacts of fracking activities on drinking water that is due to be completed in 2014 and a study recently announced by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with scientists from Columbia, Johns Hopkins and the University of North Carolina.

SUBSCRIBE VIA RSS

OHIO.COM VIDEOS

See the most recent drilling report and an injection wells map From NewsOutlet.org
Prev Next

Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.