This article by Heather Harr originally appears in the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh's December 2014-January 2015 edition of the Voter. Photos were taken by Ashley Nicholson, a student volunteer from Chatham University.


The Shale and Public Health Committee of the LWVPA Straight Scoop on Shale project (funded by a grant from the Colcom Foundation) held its "Days of Discovery" conference on October 26 & 27. This year's conference was hosted by the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health at the Pitt University Club. About 150 attendees– academics, community members, League members, health professionals, lawyers, reporters and college students– learned about the latest research examining potential public health impacts of shale gas development.

Top experts from the Colorado School of Public Health (Lisa McKenzie PhD MPH), University of Missouri School of Medicine (Susan Nagel PhD), the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Reynold Panederi MD) and others presented original research. Michael McCawley of WVU discussed the need to modernize regulatory standards and provide better implementation. Pediatrician Jerome Paulson of the Children's National Medical Center spoke during lunch on Monday about civic participation, science and medicine.

On Sunday, Prof. John Dernbach Esq. of Widener's Environmental Law Center presented on the relevance of Pennsylvania's Environmental Amendment (Article I, Section 27) to current court decisions regarding shale gas development. The Hon. Franklin Kury, author of the amendment, inspired the audience with his remembrance of being able to serve the public in government, helping protect the environment for future generations with bi­‐partisan support. 

Videos of the conference presentations will be available at the Straight Scoop on Shale website, An updated Shale Gas Extraction and Public Health Resource Guide is also available.