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EPA holds public meetings on fracking study

July 01, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding public meetings to explain its proposed plan to study the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water, and to receive public comments on its preliminary study plan from all interested stakeholders. The study is a result of language inserted into the fiscal year 2010 Appropriations Act.

OIPA attended the first public meeting held in Fort Worth on July 8. Approximately 600 people were in attendance. It appeared that a large number of the attendees were from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There were roughly 88 oral comments provided expressing opinions on hydraulic fracturing. Around 29 comments were supportive of hydraulic fracturing and the industry with a few people speaking from a neutral position in support of a study. The remaining speakers were opposed to or very concerned about hydraulic fracturing and/or oil and gas drilling and production activities.

OIPA’s oral comments were aimed at keeping EPA’s study focused on:
  • Fulfilling Congress’ mandate by focusing on the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water without getting diverted on more generalized issues outside the scope of the Congressional intent.
  • Following Congress’ mandate to consult with state and interstate regulatory agencies in carrying out the study as state oil and gas regulatory agencies have had effective regulatory programs in place for years to address this issue, and
  • Adhering to Congress’ mandate that the study be conducted in a transparent, peer-reviewed process. OIPA stated it would like to participate as a member of any stakeholder advisory group that is established during the study process.

OIPA plans to submit written comments as well. OIPA encourages its members to submit comments on this issue reiterating our position. Please contact Angie Burckhalter at OIPA for more information.

EPA plans to finalize the study plan by September 2010, and expects to initiate the study in January 2011. The initial study results should be available by late 2012.
For more information on this issue, go to http://epa/gov/safewater/uic/wells_hydrofrac.html.

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