Dr. Paul T. Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development said, "Our research will be designed to answer questions about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on human health and the environment. The study will be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed process, with significant stakeholder input." EPA is in the very early stages of designing a hydraulic fracturing research program. The Agency is proposing the process begin with: (1) defining research questions and identifying data gaps; (2) conducting a robust process for stakeholder input and research prioritization; (3) with this input, developing a detailed study design that will undergo external peer-review, leading to (4) implementing the planned research studies.
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. The Federal Register notice announces the first meeting of the SAB review committee which consists of the SAB Environmental Engineering Committee (EEC) augmented with other SAB members. The meeting, April 7-8, in Washington, DC will evaluate and comment on EPA's proposed approach to studying the potential public health and environmental protection issues that may be associated with hydraulic fracturing.