EPA fracking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted its draft study plan on hydraulic fracturing for review to the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) on Feb. 8. 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. Hydraulic fracturing is used in the development of shale plays across the U.S., which are being tapped for use in the electric power industry.
 
EPA announced its intention to conduct the study in March 2010. Since then, EPA has held a series of public meetings across the country and the agency has developed a 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.

Click here for a copy of the draft study plan and additional information:

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