Wolf Budget Includes $100K for Marcellus Shale Health Registry

shale-gas-drilling-towerState Impact

By Marie Cusick

In his budget plan unveiled Tuesday, Governor Wolf proposed a $100,000 funding increase to the state Department of Health to create a registry to monitor people who live near natural gas drilling sites.

After New York State banned fracking late last year, citing public health concerns, Wolf said he planned to create a registry to monitor health complaints in Pennsylvania. States with significant oil and gas development handle public health issues differently. Colorado currently maintains an online public database of drilling-related complaints.

Public health advocates are encouraged by Wolf’s plan, but say $100,000 is not nearly enough money. Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy teaches public health at Villanova University.

“It’s seed money to get a health registry started,” she says. “But to consider the long term health impacts, then more money is going to need to be committed.”

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health said details about how the registry would work have not been determined yet.

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