The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on hydraulic fracturing, the process used to free natural gas and oil from rock. The well completion process, which involves the use of water, sand and chemicals, has become controversial in states like New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, where natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale has boomed in recent years. Critics charge that the process could pollute ground water and that more federal regulation is needed. The oil and gas industry says “fracking” has been used safely for decades.
The Environmental Protection Agency is currently studying the process, though it is expected to take several months to complete.
Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud will be among the witnesses at the hearing. The committee is led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, is the top Republican on the committee.
Here is the witness list:
_ Robert Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency
_ Dr. Conrad Daniel Volz, DrPH, MPH, Director, Center for Healthy Environments & Communities
_ Mr. Jack Ubinger, Senior Vice President, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
_ Dr. Robert Summers, Ph.D., Acting Secretary of the Environment, Maryland Department of the Environment
_ Mr. Jeff Cloud, Vice Chairman, Oklahoma Corporation Commission
_ Mr. David Neslin, Director, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission