WASHINGTON, April 13 (UPI) -- The Obama administration Friday announced a partnership among three federal agencies to coordinate research and development for natural gas and oil.
The partnership is the first effort to comply with and executive order released earlier Friday creating the Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources, the Interior Department said in a release.
"This new partnership will help coordinate current and future research and scientific studies undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior -- better positioning the Obama administration to ensure that continued expansion of natural gas and oil production happens safely and responsibly as part of an all-of-the-above approach to American energy in which science plays a guiding and critical role," the release said.
The department noted U.S. oil and natural gas production has increased every year since 2008, and in 2011 crude oil production reached its highest level in eight years.
"Science, research and innovation continue to play a vital role in our efforts to further expand oil and gas production in the United States and make sure it's done safely and responsibly," Deputy Interior Secretary David J. Hayes said.
"Improvements in technologies like hydraulic fracturing are responsible for greatly increasing our capacity to develop America's abundant unconventional resources in recent years. Through a close collaboration across the government that reduces redundancy and streamlines our research, we are positioning the Obama administration to best meet the critical need of increasing public understanding and public confidence of these critical technologies so that we can continue safe and responsible exploration and production for many decades to come," Hayes said.