A Cornell University professor told a congressional subcommittee on Thursday that the development of shale gas has happened so quickly, there’s now a “research gap” on the public health and environmental impacts. Robert Howarth told the subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform, that most of the peer-reviewed science has been published within the last 14 months.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that Howarth also urged more federal oversight of natural gas drilling.
“The pollution from unconventional oil and gas development moves across state lines in surface waters, in the air and in gas pipelines,” Howarth said. “This interstate pollution clearly calls for federal oversight of environmental and public- health regulation.”
Howarth authored a report on the greenhouse gas footprint of shale drilling, concluding the entire process is dirtier than coal and oil. The study created a firestorm, and led to a dispute among Howarth and his colleagues at Cornell.
DEP Secretary Michael Krancer, never one to shy away from criticizing the role of the EPA, submitted remarks to the committee. According to the Bloomberg report, Krancer continues to champion state’s rights when it comes to shale gas regulation.
“The states are light-years ahead of the federal government in terms of experience and know-how about their own individual states and about the science and technique of hydraulic fracturing,” Michael Krancer, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said.
Howarth summarized results from several recent studies on shale gas development’s impact on air, water, and public health.