U.S. Energy Secretary's shale gas advisory board submits its final 90-day report on recommendations to reduce environmental impacts from shale gas production; DOE Secretary Chu vows to 'chart path' for continued shale development

WASHINGTON , August 18, 2011 (press release) – The Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary Energy Advisory Board today submitted its final 90-day report on recommendations to reduce the environmental impacts from shale gas production to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Earlier this year, President Obama announced a plan for U.S. energy security in which he instructed the Secretary of Energy to work with other agencies, the natural gas industry, states, and environmental experts to improve the safety of shale gas development. As a result, Secretary Chu charged the Subcommittee with providing recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of shale gas extraction processes, and other steps to ensure protection of public health and safety.

Below is Secretary Chu’s statement on receiving the final report:

I want to first commend the work of the Subcommittee, led by John Deutch, for producing a practical, thoughtful and insightful report. I know each member committed significant time and energy to this exercise, and it shows in the final product. As the President has said, natural gas will continue to play an important role in our nation’s energy portfolio, helping create jobs, stimulate the economy, and reduce our dependence on imported oil. But the President’s commitment to continuing to leverage this abundant domestic fuel source – and increasing energy independence, creating jobs, and building our 21st century clean energy economy – is built on our ability, working with industry, to improve the environmental performance of the processes that have allowed us to take full advantage of this important resource. What we can do now to increase safe and responsible production of natural gas is directly connected to our long-term ability to develop this fuel source.

The report recommends measures to increase public disclosure and transparency and address concerns about air and water pollution. The report also recommends a range of tools for implementing these measures, including regulation, continuous improvement in best practices by industry, and ongoing research and development.

I will be working closely with my colleagues in the Administration to review the recommendations and to chart a path for continued development of this vital energy resource in a safe manner.

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