Pennsylvania's former health secretary says the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation's biggest natural gas drilling booms.
Dr. Eli Avila also says the state's current strategy is a disservice to people and even to the industry itself because health officials need to be proactive in protecting the public.
"The lack of any action speaks volumes," said Avila, who is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. "Don't BS the public. Their health comes first."
Avila told The Associated Press that he believes senior political advisers did a "disservice" to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett by putting a study of health effects on the back burner three years ago. That has led to a cycle of public fear and confusion, Avila said.
"What are you so afraid that we're going to uncover?" Avila said of industry leaders, adding that it would be better to clearly tell people what is or isn't a problem. "It's not that I'm against fracking. I'm sure it's helping many individuals financially."