EHP Addresses “Mischaracterizations” by Senator Bartolotta with PA Dept of Health Secretary

Media Advisory from the EHP Communications Manager Scott Smith:

Please be aware of a 10/14/22 letter EHP sent to Acting Secretary Johnson of the PA Department of Health (DOH) regarding mischaracterizations PA Sen. Camera Bartolotta made in a 9/21/22 letter urging the DOH to pull out of a community meeting, held 10/5/22 in Canonsburg, PA. The community meeting discussed public health and shale gas (fracking) studies being conducted by the University of Pittsburgh.

The university had called for the meeting earlier in the year, and the university and the DOH had been integral to the planning of the meeting. Following the sending of Sen. Bartolotta’s letter, the DOH and the university subsequently pulled out of the meeting. Sen. Bartolotta’s letter was made public to EHP last week.

You can view both EHP’s response letter and Sen. Bartolotta’s original letter here.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions or provide further information or interviews.

Thanks much.
Scott

Scott Smith
Communications Manager
Environmental Health Project
Main Office: 724-260-5504

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UPDATES:

State Sen. Camera Bartolotta urged Pennsylvania health department to drop out of fracking public health forum, letter shows

Department says letter had ‘nothing to do’ with decision to withdraw

In a story published by Reid Frazier | StateImpact Pennsylvania | October 17, 2022 we get further insights into this entire debacle:

“The Department of Health said the letter had “nothing to do with” its decision to withdraw. A statement from an agency spokesperson said the department pulled out only after Pitt did.”

“As the meeting date approached and plans were solidified, it became apparent that it would be premature to participate in a public forum regarding this research, which recently closed to recruitment and entered the data analysis phase.”

Statement from the University of Pittsburgh
My conclusions:

Where’s the missing piece of this puzzle?
One would have to strongly suspect that Pennsylvania State Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46th District) also wrote a letter to PITT, or somehow exerted pressure on Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and/or the Board of Trustees, to be the first to pull out of this event.

As EHP points out in their letter to the Acting Secretary of the Pa. Department of Health, Denise A. Johnson, that withdrawal violated PITT’s contract with the state on multiple counts:

  • The contract between the Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh clearly states:
    From July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, the Provider shall: As requested by the Department, create presentations for other presenters or present data to relevant audiences as it pertains to project work. Neither party shall refuse any reasonable request to present data; two weeks’ notice will be considered adequate notice for either party.
  • The reporting section of the contract also states:
    On at least an annual basis, the Principal Investigator(s) and study team shall present study progress to date in a public forum in conjunction with the Department.

PITT’s last minute withdrawal was still a lousy excuse for the Pennsylvania Department of Health to withdraw, especially considering the DOH’s poor track record on fracking and public health, as detailed in this blog: D’OH! …as Homer Simpson would say

MORE: Sen. Bartolotta Works to Deny Grieving Parents, Smears Reputable Health Group

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