Two retired employees from the Pennsylvania Department of Health made an alarming claim that workers were muzzled on the issue of drilling.
One former employee claimed that she was told not to return calls to locals who voiced health concerns about the development of natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale, which traverses much of the state.
“We were absolutely not allowed to talk to them,” Tammi Stuck, a retired community health nurse in Fayette County who worked for almost 36 years said. Her remarks were validated by another retiree, Marshall P. Deasy III. Deasy, who worked as a program specialist at the Bureau of Epidemiology, revealed that his employer also started requiring field workers to obtain permission before attending any non-department meetings.
Deasy says this decision was prompted after a consultant at an agency spoke about drilling in a community gathering.
However, when contacted by State Impact, a spokeswoman with the Department of Health denied that workers were forbidden from returning drilling-related calls. Aimee Tysarczyk clarified that all queries linked to shale gas exploitation are usually forwarded to the Bureau of Epidemiology, and that the department has logged 51 complaints, though it is yet to find a solid link between illness and drilling.
Doctors have expressed concern that individuals who stay near drilling sites have been afflicted by nausea, nosebleeds, skin rashes and other medical conditions. Some locals say drilling is to blame, though doctors argue that there is no research or data to back up the claims.
Over the last six years, energy firms have sunk over 6,000 wells in Pennsylvania, effectively turning the state into America’s fastest-growing natural gas producer. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at email@example.com