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Hundreds of companies urge Trump to resolve tariff dispute with China. Also on our Friday rundown: California moves closer to universal health coverage. Plus, new Gulf restoration projects – a decade after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

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Oil and Gas Drilling “Loopholes” Blamed for Health Problems in TN

November 5, 2007

Nashville, TN – "Loopholes" in federal environmental protection laws may also be having ill effects on the health of Tennesseeans. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is taking a closer look at public health concerns related to accelerated drilling activity, in Tennessee and other states. The Natural Resources Defense Council has been tracking health problems that could be the results of exposure to industry pollution. Report author Amy Mall says what they've found points to the need for oil and gas developers to pay more attention to federal Clean Air and Water Act laws.

"Sore throat, burning eyes, nosebleeds –- some people have had more serious neurological-type symptoms, or breathing issues."

The NRDC report is one of two being presented to Congress. Mall says some Tennessee residents blame tumors and cancers on chemicals related to development. Most projects are exempted from federal environmental laws, although Congress is considering requiring the industry to follow rules in the interest of public health. Mall adds keeping dangerous chemicals away from the public wouldn't require new technologies.

"They're readily available, they're affordable and, in some cases, they're even profitable after the initial investment. That's documented by state and federal agencies, and even by industry research."

The industry's response is that self-regulation has been sufficient to protect the public, and that more federal laws would slow projects down.


Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - TN