Reuters reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has named thirty-one experts to review an upcoming report on “fracking,” the term used to describe the extraction of natural gas and oil. For a link to the Reuters news story, click here.
For additional background and information on this issue, visit the National Agricultural Law Center website here.
In 2010, Congress requested a study from the EPA on the natural gas and oil extraction method commonly known as fracking. Hydraulic fracking extracts natural gas and oil by sending large volumes of water mixed with chemicals and sand underground to crack rock and free the resources.
According to the Reuters article, critics of fracking are concerned that drilling near schools and homes may pollute water and air. However, others are concerned the study could lead to more regulations and raise operating costs.
In August 2012, the EPA’s scientific advisory board sought public nominations for fracking specialists. The board screened one hundred and forty-four candidates for conflicts of interest and curtailed the list to thirty-one experts. The Reuters article further reported that the panel consists of twenty-one academicians, five company or consulting firm employees and two government employees. The expertise of the panelists includes oil and gas engineering, well drilling, hydrology, geology, groundwater chemistry, toxicology, civil engineering, and waste and drinking water treatment.
According to the article, “EPA Acting Adminstrator Bob Perciasepe said the selection of a range of impartial experts shows the agency, whose foes have accused it of being opaque in its practices, is being open in the report’s procedure.” The article further quotes Perciasepe:
“We have worked to ensure that the study process be open and transparent throughout, and the SAB (scientific advisory board) panel is another example of our approach of openness and scientific rigor.”
The panel is scheduled to meet May 7-8, 2013 and will provide feedback regarding the 2012 progress report on the study. The study is expected to be delivered in 2014.