Everyone involved in shale gas development needs to do a better job, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) subcommittee on shale gas production said in its final report.

While “gratified” with the work that government, industry and public interest groups have done to implement its August recommendations, “the progress to date is less than the subcommittee hoped and it is not clear how to catalyze action at a time when everyone’s attention is focused on economic issues, the press of daily business and an upcoming election,” the subcommittee wrote in a report, scheduled to be released publicly on Nov. 18.

The subcommittee released its first report in August, laying out 20 recommendations it thought “would assure that the nation’s considerable shale gas resources are being developed responsibly” (see NGI, Aug. 15). The current report focuses on how stakeholders might go about using their limited resources to implement those recommendations saying that without action shale development could cause environmental damage, leading to opposition that might jeopardize the “enormous potential benefits of this domestic energy resources.”

The subcommittee found that 14 of its 20 recommendations could be handled immediately by either the federal or state governments, and only six required new partnerships.

On the federal level, the subcommittee blamed several setbacks on funding problems, including a failure to fund the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (Stronger Inc.) and the Ground Water Protection Council, as well as research and development for shale gas. The report includes a letter from the federal Office of Management and Budget saying that it is in the process of deciding how best to merge public and private resources at a time when discretionary funding is capped.

But the subcommittee also believes that some efforts taken to date have fallen short, pointing in particular to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed air quality standards.

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