Health Secretary: no quick answer to gas drilling complaints

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 16, 2014 11:28 AM

Photo by Scott Goldsmith / The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project

(Pittsburgh) -- The head of Pennsylvania's Department of Health says its experts are responding to health complaints related to natural gas drilling, but there is no quick and easy way to answer questions about the issue.

Health Secretary Michael Wolf tells The Associated Press that the department is working to do research with other public and private partners, such as hospitals.

Wolf's predecessor said last week that the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of drilling.

The comments come after two former Health Department employees told StateImpact Pennsylvania they were told to not return calls from those raising health concerns related to natural gas development.

Wolf says he hasn't spoken directly to Governor Corbett about studying health impacts from one of the nation's biggest natural gas drilling booms, but he has spoken to Corbett's staff.

The industry says drilling is safe and that natural gas has helped reduce overall air pollution.

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