An ad hoc panel of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) recently issued a draft report raising concerns over some of the conclusions in the EPA's multi-year study that reviewed the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies.

The SAB is a scientific body charged with peer review of the EPA's scientific findings on a variety of issues. In particular, the panel expressed concern with the EPA's conclusion that there is no evidence of "widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water". In its draft, the panel also stressed that many of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing are local in nature and contended that the EPA failed to fully account for the uncertainties and data limitations in existing studies.

In response, an EPA spokesperson defended the study, noting that the EPA found very few cases involving effects on drinking water in comparison to the large numbers of hydraulically fractured wells. The SAB will accept public comment on the draft report before the full SAB is convened to consider a final report.

For further information on this topic please contact Roger Martella, Samuel Boxerman, Jim Wedeking or Joel Visser at Sidley Austin LLP by telephone (+1 202 736 8000) or email (rmartella@sidley.com, sboxerman@sidley.com, jwedeking@sidley.com or jvisser@sidley.com). The Sidley Austin LLP website can be accessed at www.sidley.com.

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