Federal EPA Finally Starting Their Study on Hydraulic Fracturing, But Don’t Hold Your Breath on How Long it Will Take to Complete

Lisa JacksonThe federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finally close to launching their much ballyhooed study on hydraulic fracturing, according the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Jackson spoke before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today.

Jackson said the agency is about to offer a blueprint for a congressionally mandated study, following hearings in New York and other states on the scope of the probe last year. “We expect, within the next month or two, to have the work plan for our study finished,” she said. “This study will take a while.”

It’s been obvious for a long time that the EPA is making a power play to become the de facto regulator of natural gas drilling in this country. But Jackson remains coy about that point:

“Many localities (and) many states regulate various aspects of the drilling process,” Jackson said. “One thing I think EPA can do to add to the body of knowledge is to determine whether there are any holes in that regulatory structure.”

But that doesn’t mean the probe definitely will lead to new federal fracturing rules. “It’s not necessarily federal regulation that will be needed. It could be. I’m not prejudging that,” Jackson said. “There may be a need for a federal role — we simply don’t know.”

*San Antonio Express (Feb 2) – EPA to study hydraulic fracturing