Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Rep. Boback Introduces Marcellus Drilling Health Registry Bill

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna) Monday introduced House Bill 2055 establishing a health registry for collection of health-related data associated with unconventional gas well drilling by the Department of Health (sponsor summary).
“In the last few years companies have drilled more than 6,000 wells into Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale, making it the fastest-growing state for natural gas production,” said Rep. Boback. “Recently, there has been much discussion regarding the potential effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on public health and safety.
“My legislation, which seeks to create a population-based health registry, was a suggestion of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission in 2011,” said Rep. Boback.  “The purpose of this registry is to evaluate the potential public health impacts associated with drilling in the Marcellus Shale for those individuals who live in close proximity to production sites.
“In 2012, the House came close to establishing the registry by passing a measure that would have provided $2 million in funds for the project,” added Rep. Boback.
In 2015, Senate Bill 375 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) was introduced to create a Health Advisory Panel on Shale Gas Extraction that died in the Senate Appropriations Committee and has not been reintroduced.
The Department of Health established an Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Health Complaints Registry to better track and respond to health complaints from citizens.  Citizens can voluntarily submit information that may be used for future epidemiological studies.
The Department also made it easier for citizens to report an environmental health complaint to the agency.
For more information, visit the Department of Health’s Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Development webpage.
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