Congress to EPA: be careful on that new frac study

The Environmental Protection Agency said earlier this year it would do another review of hydraulic fracturing, the method being used more widely throughout the U.S. to tap into natural gas shale formations. The move comes, in part, in reaction to concerns about use of the technique.
While the Obama administration has started to make more positive noises about the future of natural gas moving forward, a group of 22 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to EPA head Lisa Jackson on Tuesday with some advice on the study, just in case.
For starters, they ask the EPA be sure the study is methodical, draws on the experience of state and federal officials, goes through peer-review and uses “well-recognized principles of risk assessment..” In other words, don’t make it just rely on stuff like this.
They are also asking the EPA to take into account past studies, such as a 2004 EPA study by the EPA that concluded the process was safe.
Not everyone agrees that those past studies are good guides, however. And many of the recent claims of contamination likely have more to do with poor well cementing or surface spills than the actual fracturing process. But it sounds like the reps (including locals Rep. Gene Green, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee) want to be sure it isn’t a rubber-stamp anti-drilling deal.
See the letter below:
Letter to EPA on Hydraulic Fracturing (2)