Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Marcellus Shale Health Panel Bill Advances In Senate

Senate Bill 375 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson), creating a Health Advisory Panel on Shale Gas Extraction, was reported out of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.
The panel would be tasked with thoroughly investigating and studying advancements in science, technology and public health data in order to provide Pennsylvania elected officials, regulators and the general public with information, analysis and recommendations regarding the safe, efficient and environmentally responsible extraction and use of unconventional natural gas reserves in the Commonwealth.
“There has been much discussion regarding the potential effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on public health and safety,” said Sen. Scarnati.  “The creation of an advisory panel composed of experts from a wide range of fields including doctors, scientists, academics and industry leaders will provide Pennsylvania with a critical asset in addressing any current or future impacts arising from the development of the Marcellus Shale.”
The creation of a permanent health advisory panel was a suggestion of the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.
The panel would consist of nine members including the Secretaries of Health and Environmental Protection, as well as individuals to be appointed by the Governor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and the House and Senate Minority Leaders.
NewsClip: Senate Panel Approves Shale Gas Health Panel

1 comment :

  1. My Senator Joe Scarnati has shown me that he is nothing if not clever, a consummate politician. I don't trust his intentions on this. I think his agenda is to make it look like a serious assessment of shale gas extraction health impacts is being done, but to achieve the opposite. He just might pull that off. We'll see if Scarnati (i.e., "the General Assembly" over which he yields great influence) puts serious people on the Committee like Dr. Bernard Goldstein or Raina Ripple, Director of the Southwest PA Environmental Health Project; or will he stack the deck in the industry's favor. I question whether a "Committee" is even what we need the most now. I would like to see PA fund ongoing health impact studies with data already in hand from providers like Geisinger and Guthrie Health. They have the longitudinal data from the gas fields, and they know the health histories of their patients. They need funding to complete a peer-reviewed analysis of their data. And one more thing: the first witness before this Committee should be New York's Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. The Committee should start out hearing why New York banned fracking based on the fact that the health risks are too serious but cannot be quantified at this point. Thus the prudent thing to do is to stop fracking until we know, otherwise subject the people of PA to an open-air experiment being conducted by the shale gas industry which will likely result in serious public health consequences for which the PA taxpayers, not the industry, will be held responsible.

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