The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 27, 2013

Geisinger $23.7M shy of funds for fracking study

— DANVILLE — A key study on possible health impacts of natural gas drilling by Geisinger Health System, which has captured the attention of some of the nation’s top environmental advocates, is short on funding with Geisinger only raising $1.3 million for the first phase of the study, which is estimated to cost $25 million.

However, Geisinger officials said the study — a collaboration with Guthrie Health in Sayre and Susquehanna Health in Williamsport — will go forward as they try to secure the necessary funding.

“All partners are committed to building a data warehouse for health assessment and enabling the broadest array of relevant research projects as possible,” said Andrew M. Deubler, executive vice president for the Office of Resource Development at Geisinger. “Currently, several pilot studies are under way, looking into incidence of trauma, perinatal outcomes and asthma and pulmonary disease.”

The $25 million price tag includes “sustaining funds to collect, curate and make available data, as well as fund pilot studies related to specific questions of research interest,” Deubler said.

Geisinger announced the study in May 2012 while preparing to comb through hundreds of thousands of patient records dating back to 2004 for clues into the public health effects of the natural gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania. Most of the grant money will underwrite a data infrastructure system to collect information.

The study will look at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in which energy companies have drilled about 5,000 natural gas wells.

“The goal of the study is to provide sound information to conduct unbiased and sound research, guide effective prevention or mitigation strategies and to aid local, state and federal governments in developing rational policies with respect to mining activities,” Deubler said.

The study caught the attention of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state was locked in a tense battle over the approval of Marcellus Shale drilling.

In March, with Cuomo poised to approval limited drilling in the southern tier, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cuomo’s former brother-in-law, told The Associated Press that he talked to Cuomo about the Geisinger study, which Kennedy said he thinks will be pivotal. Soon after Cuomo spoke with Kennedy and others, the momentum in New York to approve limited drilling died.

In February, the Sunbury-based Degenstein Foundation donated $1 million toward the project, and it remains the largest contribution to the effort.

“We think it’s a real important thing for the Susquehanna Valley region to have a neutral study” about health and drilling, Degenstein Foundation co-trustee Michael Apfelbaum said in February.

In an attempt to raise the remaining research funds, “Geisinger continues to hold meetings with potential institutional partners,” Deubler said.


Text Only
  • Official: Air Algerie flight ’probably crashed’

    An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria’s capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali and “probably crashed,” according to the plane’s owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso.

    July 24, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1gaza25.jpg Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1execution.jpg How Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, executions went awry

    Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today's Editorial: One more job appears at risk

    July 24, 2014

  • Rabbi Conflict in Israel grounds Sunbury rabbi

    TEL AVIV, Israel — While the Israelis and Hamas traded rocket and missile strikes for a 16th day, Rabbi Nina Mandel is struggling to find her way back to Sunbury after the FAA on Wednesday announced that it would extend its ban on travel at Ben-Gurion International Airport for another 24 hours.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal24 Danville woman dies as logging truck crushes car in Valley Township

    DANVILLE — An 84-year-old Danville woman was killed when her car and a logging truck collided Wednesday afternoon at Routes 642 and 54 in Valley Township.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Docs: Fractures helped save rock victim's life

    DANVILLE — Sharon Budd’s condition is progressing nearly a week after a 13 1/2-hour procedure in which a team of surgeons rebuilt her facial bones and removed a damaged part of her brain, said two Geisinger Health System physicians who are part of that team

    July 24, 2014

  • Magistrate judge sides with Warrior Run

    WILLIAMSPORT — A federal magistrate judge says he agrees with a hearing officer that a Warrior Run student does not need special-education services,

    July 23, 2014

  • Inaugural Lewisburg BrewBQue Musical Festival is Saturday

    LEWISBURG — Not a beer fan? Not a problem. This Saturday’s inaugural Lewisburg BrewBQue Musical Festival, taking place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Market Street from Sixth Street to the Susquehanna River, welcomes brew lovers, barbecue fans, dancers in the street and little tykes alike with an array of events and offerings, organizers said.

    July 23, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.