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By Amy Mall
In addition to the environmental impacts of oil and gas production, including dangerous air and water contamination, and destruction of wildlife habitat, Natural Resources Defense Council is concerned about other impacts to communities that have been documented, such as increased crime, infrastructure burdens that require massive repair, and the growing demand for social and municipal services. Another serious impact is a large increase in the need for health care services. Communities with oil and gas development can see increased emergency room visits in particular, from traffic and occupational accidents.
A recent report from Tioga County, Pennsylvania, tells of a community-owned not-for-profit hospital that is experiencing its first budget loss in five years, due to workers in the oil and gas industry who do not have health insurance. According to the hospital's CEO, "Many subcontractors attracted to the area’s Marcellus Shale drilling boom do not cover employees." Not only should the oil and gas industry clean up its environmental mess, but it should also provide health care insurance to its workers so that taxpayers or those who are insured do not foot the bill. The industry can afford it.
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