Today Reps. Henry A. Waxman, Edward J. Markey, and Diana DeGette sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton requesting a hearing on the final report by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Subcommittee on Shale Gas Production (SEAB) on steps the industry and regulators should take to ensure that shale gas development proceeds responsibly and safely.
The full text of the letter is below and also available online here .
November 14, 2011
The Honorable Fred Upton
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Upton:
On November 10, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Subcommittee on Shale Gas Production (SEAB) released its final report on the steps that industry and regulators should take to ensure that shale gas development proceeds responsibly and safely. We request that you schedule a hearing before the end of the year on this important report.
On August 18, 2011, SEAB released its interim report, which included several recommendations for how state and federal regulators and industry could reduce the impact of shale gas development on air quality, water quality, and the quality-of-life in communities near drilling operations. SEAB noted that, absent an effective regulatory and industry response, expanded natural gas production could produce serious environmental consequences. In particular, SEAB recommended that industry and government officials improve public access to information about shale gas drilling activities; reduce emissions of methane and ozone precursors from new and existing wells; and protect water quality at every stage of the drilling and production process.
Last week, SEAB released its final report assessing whether "initial, constructive, steps" are underway to implement these recommendations. SEAB identified nine recommendations that are ready for implementation and where federal agencies have primary responsibility. Unfortunately, SEAB found that the progress of implementing these recommendations "is less than the Subcommittee hoped." The report concluded that "concerted and sustained action" is needed to prevent shale gas production from harming the environment and public health across the country.
To date, the Committee has not held a single hearing on the topic of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development, despite the importance of natural gas to our energy future and widespread public concern about air and water pollution from natural gas production. The SEAB report is a good place to start. We request that you schedule a hearing on this issue as soon as possible.
Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Energy
Edward J. Markey
Committee on Natural
Subcommittee on Oversight