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Correction: Gas Drilling-Health Study story

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm •  Published: January 7, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In a story Dec. 31 about a Pennsylvania study on health effects of gas drilling, The Associated Press, relying on information from Geisinger Health Systems, erroneously reported the recipient and source of a $250,000 grant, as well as the total amount of funding secured by Geisinger. The grant was to Lycoming County from the state of Pennsylvania, not to Geisinger from the U.S. Geological Survey. As a result, the story should have said Geisinger has secured $1.1 million in funding, not $1.3 million.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Key gas drilling health study collecting Pa. data

Key gas drilling health study still collecting Pa. data, more research planned


Associated Press

Almost two years after it began, a much-publicized plan to study possible health impacts from gas drilling is still in the process of collecting data.

Geisinger Health Systems, of Danville, began seeking partners for the long-term project in early 2012. It's secured at least $1.1 million in funding and has attracted a wide range of medical, environmental and academic partners. For now, the main goal is to build a data warehouse available to researchers.

Geisinger spokeswoman Patti Urosevich said in an email that the project has collected Pennsylvania data on traffic and accidents, air pollution emissions, and the locations of thousands of gas wells and more than 600 compressor stations, which feed the gas through pipelines.

Urosevich wrote that once the data warehouse is complete, researchers will be able to identify and investigate trends by merging health information with data such as geography, traffic, or the environment.

Guthrie Health, of Sayre, and Susquehanna Health are other major partners in the study, and as a group they have access to detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near wells and other facilities that are producing natural gas from the underground Marcellus Shale formation.

The Marcellus lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York. While the boom in drilling has generated jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for companies and individual leaseholders, it also raised health concerns.

One public health expert welcomed the Geisinger work but said a bigger problem remains: the state of Pennsylvania isn't doing enough to fund even basic research into possible health impacts of gas drilling.

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