EPA’s Science Advisory Board announces Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory panel
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) independent Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced the formation of its Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory panel. This panel of independent experts will peer review EPA’s 2014 draft report of results for its national study on any potential health and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. Leading up to the peer review, the SAB panel will provide scientific feedback on EPA’s research in an open and transparent manner.
The development of the draft report, which is directed by Congress, is in line with the administration’s focus on continuing to expand safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production.
The SAB has identified an independent panel of 31 experts that meet its criteria of having the necessary expertise and breadth of experience to adequately review the EPA hydraulic fracturing study on the potential impacts on drinking water resources, and meet long-standing rules regarding financial conflicts of interest.
EPA will ask the SAB panel, as a part of its public process, to specifically seek input from applied science practitioners in the field. Ensuring the most up-to-date information on emerging science and technology of this rapidly changing industry is a critical component of the entire process.
The SAB sought public nominations of nationally and internationally recognized scientists and engineers with experience and expertise related to hydraulic fracturing in an August 2012 Federal Register notice.
The SAB initially identified and sought public comment on 144 potential candidates. As required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, the SAB staff screened candidates for conflicts of interest and appearance of lack of impartiality. After reviewing public comments, confidential financial disclosure forms and additional information submitted by prospective candidates, the SAB identified the panel of 31 experts.
On May 7 and 8, 2013, the SAB panel will convene a meeting to provide individual feedback from panel members regarding EPA’s 2012 progress report on the study. The public also will have the opportunity to provide comments for the panel’s consideration. Comments from individual panel members will be considered as EPA develops its draft results in late 2014 for peer review by the SAB. The draft report of results will synthesize the findings from the study’s ongoing projects together with scientific literature to answer the study’s main research questions regarding hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources.
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