EPA Study on Hydrofracking


Case Study Locations announced 6/23/11.  Hydraulic Fracturing | Hydraulic Fracturing | US EPA.

Draft sent to Study Panel 2-9-11

EPA Submits Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan to Independent Scientists for Review

The draft plan is open to public comment  2/8/11

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today submitted its draft study plan on hydraulic fracturing for review to the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB), a group of independent scientists. Natural gas plays a key role in our nation’s clean energy future and the process known as hydraulic fracturing is one way of accessing that vital resource. EPA scientists, under this administration and at the direction of Congress, are undertaking a study of this practice to better understand any potential impacts it may have, including on groundwater. EPA announced its intention to conduct the study in March 2010 and use the best available science, independent sources of information, a transparent, peer-reviewed process and with consultation from others. Since then, EPA has held a series of public meetings across the country with thousands attending and the agency has developed a sound draft plan for moving forward with the study.

The scope of the proposed research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing, from acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flowback and produced or used water and its ultimate treatment and disposal.

The SAB plans to review the draft plan March 7-8, 2011. Consistent with the operating procedures of the SAB, stakeholders and the public will have an opportunity to provide comments to the SAB during their review. The agency will revise the study plan in response to the SAB’s comments and promptly begin the study. Initial research results and study findings are expected to be made public by the end of 2012, with the goal of an additional report following further research in 2014.

Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which large volumes of water, sand and chemicals are injected at high pressures to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. The process creates fractures in formations such as shale rock, allowing natural gas or oil to escape into the well and be recovered. Over the past few years, the use of hydraulic fracturing for gas extraction has increased and has expanded over a wider diversity of geographic regions and geologic formations.

For a copy of the draft study plan and additional information:

http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/02ad90b136fc21ef85256eba00436459/d3483ab445ae61418525775900603e79!OpenDocument&TableRow=2.1#2 More information on hydraulic fracturing:

Study Panel

List of EPA Peer Review Panel http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/WebCommitteesSubcommittees/Hydraulic%20Fracturing%20Study%20Plan%20Review%20Panel

Gas-drilling/peer-review-panel-for-epa-fracking-study-includes-six-pa-scientists-1.1091757.  Times Tribune

Peer-review panel for EPA fracking study includes six Pa. scientists
By Laura Legere (Staff Writer)
Published: January 18, 2011
A panel of geologists, toxicologists, engineers and doctors that will peer-review a high-profile Environmental Protection Agency study of hydraulic fracturing will include six scientists from Pennsylvania, more than any other state.

The panel will review the techniques and analysis the EPA uses to draft a study of the potential environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing – the process used in natural gas exploration of injecting a high-pressure mix of chemically treated water and sand underground to break apart a rock formation and release the gas.

The panel might also be called on to review the conclusions of the study, which are slated for release in 2012.

The board, called the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan Review Panel, was narrowed to 23 members from a list of 88 nominated candidates, some of whom were criticized in public comments submitted by industry or environmental groups for being biased.

All but four members selected for the panel are affiliated with research universities and none is currently employed by an oil or gas company.

Five of seven members of a previous peer-review panel involved in a 2004 EPA study of hydraulic fracturing in coal-bed methane wells were current or former employees of the oil and gas industry. That study’s findings, that hydraulic fracturing poses “little or no threat” to drinking water aquifers, has been touted by the industry but challenged by an EPA whistle-blower.

In a memo announcing the new panel, the EPA found “no conflicts of interest or appearances of a lack of impartiality for the members of this panel.”

It will be led by David A. Dzombak, professor of environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and include Michel Boufadel of Temple University; Elizabeth Boyer of Penn State University; Richard Hammack, a Pittsburgh-based roject manager for the U.S. Department of Energy; Jeanne VanBriesen of Carnegie Mellon and Radisav D. Vidic of the University of Pittsburgh.

Contact the writer: llegere@timesshamrock.com

EPA Requests Chemicals Used in Hydrofracking from Service Co.  Sept. 2010

Scope Document & EPA Contacts

EPA Study Draft 5/19/10

Background Info on EPA hearings

Please see http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/676/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4576&tag=email for key points on the EPA study and an action you can take to encourage the agency to conduct a comprehensive, scientifically sound study that will contribute to the protection of health and water.

Council of Scientific Society Presidents.  CCSP letter on energy & environment[1]

Testimony from TX hearing on EPA Study July 8, 2010

EPA Hearing in Pittsburg Coverage

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