Not too sure which board to post this on.  Could be political, but it is clearly related to shale gas drilling and production.  Found this article today on DOE Secretary Chu naming an advisory committee on Shale Gas.  You should know that DOE has no regulatory authority in this area.  Presumably, the Secretary will send along any finding to EPA and Interior, and perhaps Congress.  The panel is somewhat balanced.  The chair, John Deutch, has a defense background, not energy, but clearly 2 of the 3 will be opponents of any type of fracing.

 

Chu names panel on shale gas

A former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the head of the petroleum engineering department at Texas A&M University are among seven energy and environment specialists whom Energy Secretary Steven Chu asked Thursday to recommend safety improvements for shale-gas production.

 

The specialists will form a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, and are expected to present recommendations to Chu within 90 days. The 13-member board first decided to create the subcommittee during a meeting in January.

 

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

Among the appointees is Kathleen McGinty, who led the White House CEQ during the Clinton administration, and served as a environmental adviser to former Vice President Al Gore when he was a senator. She later was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

 

Another appointee, Stephen Holditch, heads the petroleum engineering department at Texas A&M, and serves on the boards of several petroleum companies. He helped develop hydraulic-fracturing technology in the 1970s, DOE said.

 

Other members of the subcommittee are: Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund; Mark Zoback, a professor of geophysics at Stanford University, who was a member of a National Academy of Engineering panel which investigated the 2010 Macondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico; Susan Tierney, a former DOE assistant secretary for policy; Daniel Yergin, a co-founder of HIS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; and John Deutch, a former DOE under secretary of energy during the Carter administration.

 

Deutch will serve as the subcommittee chair. He is a member of SEAB along with Tierney and Yergin.

 

The US is currently in the midst of a shale-gas boom, driven by advances in hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking. The boom has come with controversy, however, with some communities saying chemicals used in fracking have contaminated their drinking water.

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I don't know Mr. Evslin, but his article made  sense to me.  we can't bury out head in the sand about risks, but we also can't live our lives as "bubble boys" (Sienfeld episode) either.  I have one issue with the Duke study - they did not have a "control" group.  they seemed to focus on one area, and apparently did not have an adequate (I am choosing my words carefully here) base line group of wells with which to compare.  they had no way to distinguish between water wells in old, established drilling areas vs wells in which only the newly drilled shale wells existed.

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