The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its final research plan on hydraulic fracturing. The EPA has been requested by Congress to better understand the potential impacts on drinking water from fracturing.
The final study plan will look at the at the full life cycle of water used in hydraulic fracturing from the acquisition of water to the mixing of chemicals, actual fracturing and the management of the used water. The EPA will use five retrospective and two prospective sites as case studies.
The agency has held a series of public meetings across the nation to receive input from states, industry, environmental and public health groups, and individual citizens. The study was additionally reviewed by the Science Advisory Board (SAB), an independent panel of scientists, to ensure the agency conducted the research using a scientifically sound approach.
The initial research results and study findings will be released to the public in 2012. The final report will be delivered in 2014.