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EPA's fracking study panel comes with controversial candidates

September 21, 2010
The American energy Alliance points out 50 out of 82 “experts” identified by EPA as potential participants for the agency's peer review panel on hydraulic fracturing oppose the use of the technology.

The EPA Science Advisory Board's "short list" of people to serve on a review panel could reignite a debate that dogged a previous fracturing study, in which a Halliburton employee served on a peer review panel that was criticized for being overloaded with people from the petroleum industry.

From the New York Times:

Most of the potential panelists listed are university professors, from places such as the University of Texas and the Colorado School of Mines. It also includes Anthony Ingraffea, an engineering professor at Cornell University and prominent critic of fracturing, who has said large-scale gas development is inconsistent with upstate New York’s environment of agriculture, tourism and recreation.

To form the panel, the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board sought nominations of nationally recognized and qualified experts in several fields, including petroleum geology, hydrology, chemistry and environmental monitoring. It is accepting comments on the potential reviewers until Oct. 1.

The board's staff office director will make the final decision about who will serve on the panel. Prospective panelists will have to submit a confidential disclosure form outlining any financial conflicts.

Fracturing supporters and skeptics both said they were satisfied with EPA's list.

"A broad group of candidates was nominated, and we are pleased that EPA has a strong pool. We will be urging EPA to select experts without bias or conflict for a truly independent scientific review of the study design," said Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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