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US experts to look into shale gas drilling

US energy secretary Steven Chu today announced a group of experts are to look into ways of improving the safety and environmental performance of shale gas extraction.

The panel consists of environmental, industry and state regulatory experts who will make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, from shale formations.

US officials want to ensure that shale gas continues to be sourced, whilst ensuring the safety of drinking water.

The measure is part of the US government’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future” which plans to reduce America’s oil dependence and help the country become a leader in clean energy industries.

“America’s vast natural gas resources can generate many new jobs and provide significant environmental benefits, but we need to ensure we harness these resources safely,” said Chu.

“I am looking forward to hearing from this diverse, respected group of experts on best practices for safe and responsible natural gas production.”

A group of highly respected experts with experience in industry, environmental groups and state regulatory agencies will form a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board to conduct the review, and will work to identify, within 90 days of beginning their work, any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing.

They will also develop, within six months of beginning their work, consensus recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.

Membership of the group includes:

  • John Deutch, Institute Professor at MIT (Chair)
  • Stephen Holditch, Texas A&M University head of the department of petroleum engineering
  • Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund president
  • Kathleen McGinty, Pennsylvania department of environmental protection former secretary
  • Susan Tierney, Analysis Group managing principal
  • Daniel Yergin, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates chairman
  • Mark Zoback, Stanford University professor of geophysics

Readers' comments (1)

  • A very sensible decision, early enough within the development of this new energy source to be effective and to provide a grounding and standards for all others' entry into this market.

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