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EPA wants more money to probe fracking

May 17, 2012 at 7:48 AM

WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was requesting a funding increase to investigate hydraulic fracturing technologies.

The EPA said it made a budget request of $8.3 billion for fiscal year 2013. About 10 percent of the budget would target science and technology funding.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told a U.S. Senate appropriations committee that part of the $807 million in funding for research includes hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing uses water mixed with abrasives and chemicals to coax oil and natural gas out of rock formations deep underground. The method is controversial because of the perceived threats to the environment.

"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," said Jackson in prepared remarks.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member on the appropriations committee, said she was concerned the EPA was making assumptions about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing.

Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama's domestic energy policy have said the EPA was overreaching in its oversight of the oil and natural gas industry.

The United States has some of the richest deposits of shale natural gas in the world.

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