EPA chief vows ‘strong science’ on hydraulic fracturing

We are not convinced the EPA would recognize real science if it leapt up and bit them in unfortunate places

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is defending the rigor of the agency’s study of potential water contamination linked to the controversial natural-gas drilling method hydraulic fracturing.

From her testimony about EPA’s proposed budget to be delivered to a congressional panel Tuesday:

As I’ve mentioned before, natural gas is an important resource which is abundant in the United States, but we must make sure that the ways we extract it do not risk the safety of public water supplies. This budget continues EPA’s ongoing congressionally directed hydraulic fracturing study, which we have taken great steps to ensure is independent, peer reviewed and based on strong and scientifically defensible data.

The overall fiscal 2013 federal budget plan also seeks a total of $45 million for new inter-agency collaboration to review the method dubbed “fracking.” More from Jackson on EPA’s part:

Building on these ongoing efforts, this budget requests $14 million in total to work collaboratively with the United States Geological Survey, the Department of Energy and other partners to assess questions regarding hydraulic fracturing. Strong science means finding the answers to tough questions, and EPA’s request does that.

Her comments come amid a wider political battle over fracking, which involves high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into rock formations in order to open up cracks that enable trapped gas to flow.

The method is enabling a gas production boom in many states but bringing fears of water pollution alongside it. Energy industry officials and many Republicans say the method is well-regulated at the state level, while environmentalists are pushing for new federal safeguards.

Industry groups and Republicans have pushed back against efforts to expand federal oversight, including planned Interior Department rules to govern fracking on public lands.

Jackson is slated to appear Tuesday morning before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Her agency’s fiscal year 2013 budget request seeks $8.34 billion, which is roughly $105 million below current funding.

The Hill

One response to “EPA chief vows ‘strong science’ on hydraulic fracturing

  1. Since fracking cuts the cost of natural gas by making much more of it available, and therefore encourages use, I expect the EPA will find that fracking is seriously detrimental in numerous ways. Call me a skeptic, but anything that enhances the lives of the average American will almost always be found to be harmful by the EPA.

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