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Obama Proposes $14 Million for Fracking Research

Susan Phillips / StateImpactPA

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson speaks to reporters at an event in Philadelphia.

President Obama’s proposed FY 2013 Environmental Protection Agency budget has a reduction of 1.2 percent, or $105 million dollars, from the previous year. It’s the third year in a row the agency has had to endure cuts. The proposed reduction comes at a time when the EPA has come under fire from Republican lawmakers, and some presidential candidates, who say the agency has engaged in over-regulatory zeal.
But some of those same presidential candidates have faced questions about the dangers of fracking on the campaign trail. And the budget announced today includes research funds dedicated to the impact of hydraulic fracturing. The proposed $14 million dollars will support research in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy that will “begin to assess potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on air quality, water quality, and ecosystems.”
The EPA’s total research budget of $576 million includes $81 million for the agency’s STAR grants, which will support research on fracking, potential endocrine disruptors, and green infrastructure. At the end of this year, the EPA expects to release preliminary results of their current study on the impact of fracking to drinking water supplies. The study includes areas of Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said difficult choices had to be made with this budget.

“This budget is focused on fulfilling EPA’s core mission to protect health and the environment for millions of American families,” said Jackson. It demonstrates fiscal responsibility, while still supporting clean air, healthy waters and innovative safeguards that are essential to an America built to last.”

The EPA budget also includes an increase of $11 million over FY 2012 for a total of $68 million dollars to “reduce chemical risks, increase the pace of chemical hazard assessments, and provide the public with greater access to toxic chemical information.”
Jackson also told reporters on a conference call this afternoon that the proposed budget includes a 5.8 percent increase in compliance and enforcement.

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