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House Science Committee Passes Fracking Study Improvements

On July 30th, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chair of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, introduced HR 2850, the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Improvement Act.  As part of an ongoing Congressionally mandated study, the bill would have EPA expand the study’s scope to look not only at the possibility of drinking water pollution as a result of hydrofracturing processes but also estimate the probability, uncertainty, and consequence of all identified impacts related to such potential pollution incidents.

On August 1th, the measure was taken up and passed by the full Committee.  According to Smith’s opening statement during the markup, “The bill does two things.  First, it requires the EPA to follow basic scientific principles in carrying out the study, which has been designated a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment.   Second, the bill requires that the EPA’s study go beyond simply identifying ‘possible impacts’ of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.  The study must provide objective estimates of the probability, uncertainty and consequence of any such impacts.”