Posted at: 03/09/2013 11:39 AM By MARY ESCH of AP on
AP) ALBANY, N.Y. - A health study cited by leading environmentalist
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as pivotal in helping persuade Gov. Andrew
Cuomo to hold off on plans for limited gas drilling is likely years
away from conclusions about whether the technology involved is
safe, according to the project’s leaders.
With New York entering the fifth year of review of the process
known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, growing calls to wait
for the Geisinger Health System study to be finished could push a
final decision back several more years, frustrating landowners and
the industry that had hoped to begin tapping the gas reserve that
lies below parts of the state.
Preliminary results could be released within a year.
"We don’t really believe that there is a fast answer here, if
you’re looking at the issue of health impacts," Andy Deubler, an
executive vice president at Geisinger Health System in
Pennsylvania, said in an interview. "You’ve got to have all the
data before you can come to a conclusion."
The study, still in early planning stages with only a fraction
of its necessary funding, is but one piece of a larger body of
independent research just getting under way and seeking
Geisinger, based in Danville, Pa., serves 2.6 million patients
and operates hospitals, clinics and an insurance program in 44
Pennsylvania counties, where fracking is being done. That gives it
vast troves of health care data concerning everything from cancer
to car accidents to asthma attacks. The company says research has
been "fundamental" to its mission...