Geothermal Public Health Assessment Background
Why this project?
Public officials, regulators and residents must consider the potential health risks that may be associated with geothermal energy production. Sorting out the facts is challenging. In the case of geothermal health impacts, research-based and clinical information is scattered across different geothermal energy producing areas like California, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Iceland. Getting clarity and insight for Hawaii is an important work in progress. This project, initiated by the County of Hawaii, will bring together an independent Study Group with diverse expertise, including associated scientific disciplines, medical experts, and knowledgeable community representatives to:
- bring together a reasoned, sustained, and science-focused deliberation to capture in one document a listing of the public health questions pertinent to the production of geothermal energy in the Puna region;
- create a reliable inventory of existing studies that address the public health concerns surrounding geothermal plants and other H2S emitting facilities around the world to serve as a baseline for the current state of knowledge on the topic; and
- develop a set of recommendations about the priorities and preferred methodologies for future scientific and monitoring studies that may be required or that can best assist the County and the Windward Planning Commission to make informed decisions that protect the long term health of the neighboring communities that surround geothermal energy development on Hawaii Island.
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