Playing politics with public health


Former state health employees say they were silenced on drilling

You know me. I’m not some anti-government wingnut. But when I read stories like this, I could be persuaded. I included a few excerpts from the article but as always, please click through and so you can really feel the full outrage.

Two retirees from the Pennsylvania Department of Health say its employees were silenced on the issue of Marcellus Shale drilling.

One veteran employee says she was instructed not to return phone calls from residents who expressed health concerns about natural gas development.

“We were absolutely not allowed to talk to them,” said Tammi Stuck, who worked as a community health nurse in Fayette County for nearly 36 years.

Another retired employee, Marshall P. Deasy III, confirmed that.

Deasy, a former program specialist with the Bureau of Epidemiology, said the department also began requiring field staff to get permission to attend any meetings outside the department. This happened, he said, after an agency consultant made comments about drilling at a community meeting.

In the more than 20 years he worked for the department, Deasy said, “community health wasn’t told to be silent on any other topic that I can think of” …

… “There was a list of buzzwords we had gotten,” Stuck said. “There were some obvious ones like fracking, gas, soil contamination. There were probably 15 to 20 words and short phrases that were on this list. If anybody from the public called in and that was part of the conversation, we were not allowed to talk to them” …

… Stuck said she has spoken to employees working in other state health centers who received the same list of buzzwords and the same instructions on how to deal with drilling-related calls.

“People were saying: Where’s the Department of Health on all this?” Stuck said. “The bottom line was we weren’t allowed to say anything. It’s not that we weren’t interested.”

Marshall Deasy worked in the Bureau of Epidemiology in Harrisburg for more than 20 years, retiring last June. Deasy was a primary investigator of food- and waterborne outbreaks and his work put him in contact with community health nurses across the state, such as Tammi Stuck.

He said some nurses told him they were not allowed to respond to complaints about gas drilling. …

Well it all sounds so familiar. If this is happening in Pennsylvania it’s no great leap to assume the same thing is happening at the CDPHE.

But it’s not just state governments ignoring the impacts of oil & gas drilling. When the EPA dropped its investigations into drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas, they failed us, too. Even the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Center for Disease Control, has delayed publishing the results of its own investigations into drinking water contamination and air pollution. Last year the National Association of County and City Health Officials called on federal, state, and local officials to conduct health impact assessments and for health professionals to participate in policy making regarding oil and gas development. Obviously those requests are also being ignored.

This is a national cover-up designed to protect political figures and the oil & gas industry.


GVCA and BCC present

Grand Valley Forum:
Oil & Gas Impacts on Human Health

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
6:00 p.m.
Parachute Public Library
244 Grand Valley Way, Parachute, CO


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One Comment on “Playing politics with public health”

  1. maryinline Says:

    So, our tax dollars are paying people who believe keeping a job is more important than doing their job. I don’t have any sympathy for these “whistle blowers” when they’re blowing their whistles after they’re now assured they won’t lose their jobs. They are just as culpable as the bosses who told them to shut it.

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