|photo by Frank Patterson|
Last March the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would conduct a study on hydraulic fracturing that would “use the best available science, independent sources of information, a transparent, peer-reviewed process”. Today EPA submitted its draft study plan on hydraulic fracturing for review to the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB, a group of independent scientists, plans to review the draft the first week in March.
According to an EPA press release, 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 – and includes the management of flowback and produced fluids or used water and its ultimate treatment and disposal.
Over the next few weeks the public has an opportunity to provide comments to the SAB during their review. Upon receiving comments, the EPA will revise the study plan in response to the SAB’s comments and promptly begin the study. EPA expects to make their initial research results and findings public by the end of 2012. They plan to follow-up with additional research, publishing further findings in 2014.
Learn more about hydraulic fracturing and download the pdf of the draft study plan at their website, www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing