New task force to examine impacts of shale development in Texas

A new task force convened by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) will examine the environmental and community impacts of shale oil and gas development in Texas.

The group will review existing scientific research and findings regarding the effects of shale oil and gas development in Texas, focusing on six areas: seismicity, land resources, water, air, transportation and community impacts. The TAMEST Shale Task Force will convene a public meeting on October 5, 2016 in Austin that will include presentations and discussion with numerous invited expert speakers.

Task force members will work together over the next year to draft a comprehensive, independent, peer-reviewed report on the impacts of shale oil and gas development in Texas, which will be published in mid-2017. The methodology for the task force will based on National Academies report production practices, including a peer review by a diverse group with expertise in oil and gas development.

The TAMEST Shale Task Force’s report will help Texans better understand what is and isn’t known about the impacts of shale oil and gas development in Texas, and offer advice for future research topics and priorities.

No funding was sought or accepted from oil and gas industry interests for this project.

“The development of vast deposits of oil and gas in the Lone Star State has had a tremendous impact on the state’s economy and the lives of everyday Texans, and provides an opportunity to learn,” says Task Force Chair Dr. Christine Economides of the University of Houston. “This task force will report findings from studies in Texas and identify the missing gaps in our knowledge. This will help improve practices for the industry, better inform our society and improve policies for the regulators and lawmakers that oversee shale oil and gas development.”

At the October 5 meeting, representatives from the Texas Water Development Board, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Railroad Commission, among others, will offer their insights, which will help inform the consensus report to be released next year. The meeting will be open to the public, and audio and slide presentations will be live-streamed and later archived online. Public input for the report will be accepted at the meeting and online.

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