Environmental Protection Agency Adminstrator Lisa Jackson
Environmental Protection Agency Adminstrator Lisa Jackson. REUTERS

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson asked the House subcommittees on energy and power on Tuesday for $14 million in order to fund collaborative studies on hydraulic fracturing with other federal agencies.

She was outlining the EPA's projected $8.344 billion budget for fiscal 2013, and made a point to emphasize the EPA's ongoing efforts to study the effects of hydraulic fracturing.

As I've mentioned before, natural gas is an important resource which is abundant in the United States, but we must make sure that the ways we extract it do not risk the safety of public water supplies. This budget continues EPA's ongoing congressionally directed hydraulic fracturing study, which we have taken great steps to ensure is independent, peer reviewed and based on strong and scientifically defensible data, Jackson told the Republican-led committee.

As part of EPA's 2010 House Appropriation Conference Committee directive, Jackson said $14 million of the agency's budget would go toward studies with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy to assess questions regarding hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA is still conducting its study and hopes to have parts of the impact study published by 2012. Data gathered from other longer-lasting test cases won't be added to the final report until 2014, the EPA said.

Building on these ongoing efforts, this budget requests $14 million in total to work collaboratively with the United States Geological Survey, the Department of Energy and other partners to assess questions regarding hydraulic fracturing. Strong science means finding the answers to tough questions, and EPA's request does that, Jackson testified.

Her comments come as the EPA is increasingly scrutinized over its stance on the controversial drilling technique. In December the agency released a draft study that suggested hydraulic fracturing caused groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo. Jackson, for her part, has been careful in how she has characterized the industry practice of extracting natural by blasting underground rock formations with water, sand and chemicals.

Speaking to an energy forum at Richard Stockton College in Galloway, N.J, last week, Jackson said she believed hydraulic fracturing could be done in a clean and safe way, a more favorable outlook from her previous statements in which she admitted there was no definitive link to hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination.