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EPA Announces Final Study Plan to Assess Hydraulic Fracturing

Congressionally directed study will evaluate potential impacts on drinking water.

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On November 3, 2011, EPA announced its final research plan on hydraulic fracturing. At the request of Congress, EPA is working to better understand potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.

In March 2010, EPA announced its intention to conduct the study in response to a request from Congress. Since then, 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. In addition, the study was 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 final study plan looks at the full cycle of water in hydraulic fracturing, from the acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flowback and produced or used water as well as its ultimate treatment and disposal.

The initial research results and study findings will be released to the public in 2012. The final report will be delivered in 2014.

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