Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
In its Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriation Conference Committee Directive to EPA, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a provision that urges EPA to conduct analyses to assess the potential risks to drinking water posed by hydraulic fracturing of formations including coalbeds and shale for extraction of natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing (or hydrofracking) generates vertical and horizontal fractures in underground geologic formations to facilitate extraction of gas (or oil) from the subsurface. While each formation has unique characteristics and features, the general process involves drilling a vertical well, extending the well bore horizontally into the formation, removing water, injecting hydrofracking fluids and then extracting the natural gas along with separation and management of fluids. To meet the Congressional request, EPA's ORD has initiated a draft approach to gather existing data and information including a stakeholder input process; to catalog potential risks to drinking water supplies from hydraulic fracturing; to identify data gaps; and to develop research questions, research needs, and research products.
ORD is seeking evaluation and comment from the SAB regarding EPA's proposed approach. Accordingly, the SAB EEC augmented with other SAB members will hold a public meeting to evaluate and comment on ORD's planned research approach to study the potential public health and environmental protection issues that may be associated with hydraulic fracturing.
Interested members of the public may submit relevant written or oral information on the topic of this advisory activity for the SAB to consider during the advisory process.