EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Peer Review

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EPA's Scientific Advisory Board has completed their peer review of the Agency's draft assessment. EPA will use the SAB's final comments and suggestions, along with relevant literature published since the release of the draft assessment, and public comments received by the Agency to revise and finalize the assessment.

Designation as a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment
The study’s assessment report has been designated a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA). As a HISA, the draft state of the science assessment will receive meaningful and timely peer review in accordance with EPA's peer review handbook.

Peer Review by the Science Advisory Board
Draft Assessment
The EPA released its Draft Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources  for SAB review and public review and comment. Learn more about the SAB's peer review process for the draft assessment
Feedback on Progress Report (2012)
The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has formed an ad hoc panel of independent experts to provide periodic advice and review under the auspices of the SAB on EPA's hydraulic fracturing research. 

In May 2013, the panel provided EPA with individual members' feedback on its 2012 Progress Report. The panel's efforts will conclude with a peer review of the draft assessment.  

Information on the SAB Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel meeting can be found here.

Information on SAB's activities related to the study can be found here

Peer Review of Study Plan (2011)
EPA considered SAB and stakeholder comments in the development of the Draft Study Plan. Four separate SAB meetings provided opportunities for public comment.

SAB and stakeholder comments were taken into consideration in the development of the Final Study Plan.

Peer Review of Scope (2010)
In April 2010, EPA's SAB reviewed an provided suggestions and comments on the proposed approach to the hydraulic fracturing study design and the areas to be addressed by research. 

Information on SAB's activities related to the proposed approach and scope of the EPA study, including the April 2010 SAB meeting materials can be found here.

Peer Review of EPA Individual Research Papers and OMB Guidelines
In addition to the SAB peer review of the draft assessment, the study's individual research projects will be peer reviewed upon their individual completion. 
  • Projects resulting in papers submitted to journals will be subjected to external peer review processes by the journal.
  • Projects resulting in EPA reports will undergo contractor led letter reviews by external technical experts.

Consistent with the regulations governing confidential business information (CBI), projects involving CBI may not be reviewed by external peer reviewers, but will receive internal expert peer reviews. 

For more information, please see the SAB website.

EPA is applying the Agency's assessment factors and the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) guidelines for peer review to evaluate the quality of all scientific and technical information considered in the Hydraulic Fracturing Study.

The assessment factors and guidelines allow EPA to take into consideration different sources of scientific and technical information, and ensures appropriate and consistent review and weight is given to the literature used in the study.

See Appendix B of EPA's peer review handbook (PDF) to read OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.