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Panel considers Big Isle geothermal health study

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 8:04 p.m. HST, Sep 4, 2014

HILO » A planning commission is considering whether to approve a study on whether geothermal development in Puna has harmed the health of residents.

The study was one of the main recommendations of a Hawaii County-funded geothermal working group. The study would be funded by the county's geothermal asset fund.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported the report would take up to three years to complete.

Puna Geothermal Venture last month released an estimated 67 pounds of hydrogen sulfide after winds from Tropical Storm Iselle knocked out its transmission lines.

Members of the Puna Pono Alliance say dozens of people have complained of symptoms potentially related to hydrogen sulfide exposure. People say they're suffering from scratchy throats, rashes, fatigue and headaches. Several say they fell unconscious during or following the release.

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