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Agency will spend $6M on study

FINGER LAKES—A number of agencies are taking interest in Marcellus Shale drilling, including the Environmental Protection Agency, which is proceeding with a $6 million study.
The EPA announced its intention March 18 to research the potential adverse effects of natural gas drilling. The plan will have five stages. The first stage is to create research questions and identify where more information is needed. The second phase is to get stakeholder input and what to prioritize. With that information, the EPA will create a draft outline as to how the study will take place. The final phase is to implement the research plan.  Public questions can be directed to Lina Younes at or 202-564-9924.
“Our research will be designed to answer questions about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on human health and the environment,” said Dr. Paul T. Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The study will be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed process, with significant stakeholder input.”
To support this initial planning phase and guide the development of the study plan, the agency is seeking suggestions and comments from the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB)—an independent, external federal advisory committee. The agency has requested that the Environmental Engineering Committee (EEC) of the SAB evaluate and provide advice on EPA’s proposed approach. The agency will use this advice and extensive stakeholder input to guide the design of the study.
According to the EPA, the department is doing the study because “there are concerns that hydraulic fracturing may impact ground water and surface water quality in ways that threaten human health and the environment.”

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