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EPA selects fracking industry peer review panel

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The Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board announced it has selected an independent panel to peer-review EPA research on hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA is currently conducting a national study on potential health and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The study is set to come out in 2014 and will be reviewed by the panel.

A release issued by the EPA says the agency is making efforts to aid in the expansion of the domestic oil and gas industry in a safe manner.

"Our final report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources must be based on sound science and take into account the latest practices being used by the industry," said Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "We have worked to ensure that the study process be open and transparent throughout, and the SAB panel is another example of our approach of openness and scientific rigor."

The panel is made up of 31 experts to review the studies. Already, the EPA has begun meetings with stakeholders and hosted various events to engage the public in the process.

The SAB panel is comprised of five current employees of companies and consulting firms; two government employees; and 21 academics/university professors (including some previously employed in industry). It has at least three experts in each of the following nine areas of expertise that were sought for the panel: Petroleum/Natural Gas Engineering; Petroleum/Natural Gas Well Drilling; Hydrology/Hydrogeology; Geology /Geophysics; Groundwater Chemistry/Geochemistry; Toxicology/Biology; Statistics; Civil Engineering; and Waste Water and Drinking Water Treatment.

More information on the SAB's Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory panel and its activities, including a list of those named to the panel, is available at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/0/B436304BA804E3F885257A5B00521B3B?OpenDocument