In a Memorandum dated February 5, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that it was “starting preliminary research on the EPA’s and states’ ability to manage potential threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing.”

Specifically, the OIG wants to evaluate the regulatory authority that is available to the EPA and the states, identify potential threats to water resources from fracturing operations, and evaluate how the EPA and the states have responded to these threats.

The OIG plans a kickoff meeting with its members as well as representatives from the Office of Water, the EPA, and other agencies to confirm the objectives and responsibilities of the research. 

This research is concurrent with the EPA’s on-going assessment of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, a project in which a draft report is expected to be released for public comment and peer review this year.