Sen Blake speaks at news conference

SCRANTON, July 7, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today joined the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute at Lackawanna College to announce a $75,000 state grant to conduct a health survey in the areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania affected by Marcellus shale drilling operations.

The study, which will be conducted by Cancer Institute researchers, will determine the current health status of the population in Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Pike Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties and establish an important baseline of data for future comparisons and research regarding public health in the areas impacted by Marcellus operations.

“Research is one of the most important tools in the fight against all cancers and this grant shows the state’s faith in the quality of research being conducted here in Scranton,” Blake said. “It is imperative that the health and well-being of Pennsylvania residents be the number one priority as the Marcellus industry expands in our state.”

The specific goals of the survey are to estimate the prevalence of a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions among residents living in counties where natural gas production has begun or is likely, as well as estimate the prevalence of known health risk factors in this population. At least 500 survey participants will be recruited for the study.

“With 20 years of experience in cancer control and more than a decade of experience conducting epidemiological research in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Cancer Institute is very glad to be able to provide the community with this valuable information on public health in the Marcellus shale region,” added Robert Durkin, president of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute. “The Institute welcomes the support of Pennsylvania’s Northeast delegation in the General Assembly as well as the support of the Corbett Administration through the Department of Public Welfare.”

The grant is being administered by the Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare.

# # #