Missing from the Table: Role of the Environmental Public Health Community in Governmental Advisory Commissions Related to Marcellus Shale Drilling
Below is the abstract for an article submitted by Goldstein, Kriesky, and Pavliakova to Environmental Health Perspectives, a prestigious peer-reviewed journal about today’s most pressing environmental health issues. Or, download the entire article (PDF). Note: As of 6-25-12, the EHP link above is not working because their website is down. The link to the full PDF will be provided as soon as possible.
The Marcellus Shale is a vast natural gas field underlying parts of Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. Rapid development of this field has been enabled by advances in hydrofracking techniques that include injection of chemical and physical agents deep underground. Response to public concern about potential adverse environmental and health impacts has led to the formation of state and national advisory committees.
We review the extent to which advisory committees formed in 2011 by the US Department of Energy and the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania contain individuals with expertise pertinent to human environmental public health. We also analyze the extent to which human health issues are of concern to the public by reviewing the presentations to the public meeting of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board Natural Gas Subcommittee.
At a public hearing held by the President’s Natural Gas Subcommittee 62.7% of those not in favor of drilling mentioned health issues. Although public health is specified to be a concern in the executive orders forming these three advisory committees, we could identify no individuals with health expertise among the 52 members of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission; the Maryland Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission; or the Secretary of Energy’s Natural Gas Subcommittee.
Despite recognition of the environmental public health concerns related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale, neither state nor national advisory committees selected to respond to these concerns contained recognizable environmental public health expertise.
Full Citation: Goldstein BD, Kriesky J, Pavliakova B. 2012. Missing from the Table: Role of the Environmental Public Health Community in Governmental Advisory Commissions Related to Marcellus Shale Drilling. Environ Health Perspect :-. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104594. Received: 07 October 2011; Accepted: 10 January 2012; Online: 10 January 2012