Community Indicators of Population Health and Natural Resource Extraction: A Population Health Approach to Characterize the Energy Fields of Pennsylvania

Authors: Richard J. Hoch*, Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Energy, Cartography
Keywords: Energy, Population Health, Community Indicators, Coal, Natural Gas
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Few places in the US experience the disruption of both longwall coal mining and shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing like southwestern Pennsylvania. Specifically, Greene and Washington Counties are the greatest producers of carbon-based energy in Pennsylvania when combining coal and gas output. Extraction methods greatly impact the physical environment and human health. Using a Population Health approach, an atlas of 47 different health variables were examined in 6 categories to characterize the 67 counties of Pennsylvania. Each county was ranked per variable by standard deviation to show which counties are beyond two standard deviations for public policy decision making purposes. The data show that Greene and Washington counties are experiencing high levels of land, air and water impacts from resource extraction; are experiencing high incidence and prevalence of disease; have lower than average access to health care; and have higher rates of at-risk dependent populations.

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