Peer Review in Accordance with the Study’s Designation as a HISA
The study’s report of results, expected in late 2014, has been designated a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA). As a HISA, the report of results and its underlying data will receive meaningful and timely peer review in accordance with EPA’s peer review handbook (PDF) (190 pp, 1.7MB).
The EPA's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has formed an ad hoc panel of independent experts who will provide periodic advice and review under the auspices of the SAB on EPA's hydraulic fracturing research, starting with a consultation to provide EPA with individual member’s feedback on its 2012 Progress Report and concluding with a peer review of the report of results, expected in 2014.
With the establishment of the SAB ad hoc panel, the EPA SAB Staff Office announced the meeting date of May 7 and 8, 2013 to review the 2012 Progress Report and offer the public an opportunity to provide oral and written comment for individual experts’ consideration. The EPA plans to consider individual experts’ comments, which will be informed by public comment, in the development of the report of results that will undergo a formal SAB peer review.
In addition to the SAB peer review of the report of results, the study’s individual research projects will be peer reviewed upon their individual completion. The review plan is as follows:
- Retrospective case studies will be grouped together and reviewed by one independent, external contractor-led panel, with an opportunity for public comment and input to the peer review panel.
- Most projects will result in articles submitted to journals, and therefore will be subjected to the journal's peer review processes, external to EPA.
- A few projects and their results will be written into EPA reports which will undergo contractor-led letter reviews by external technical experts.
Consistent with the regulations governing confidential business information, projects involving confidential business information may not be reviewed by external peer reviewers, but will receive internal expert peer reviews.
For more information, please see the SAB website.
Learn more about our Integrated Approach of Openness and Scientific Rigor (PDF)
Peer Review by the Science Advisory Board
EPA asked the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) to provide a peer review of the Draft Study Plan, and for the SAB to provide suggestions and comments. The SAB is an independent federal advisory committee. The SAB met in April 2010 to provide advice on the proposed approach to be used to frame the hydraulic fracturing study design and on the areas that will be addressed by research relevant to hydraulic fracturing. Their ideas were provided to EPA in a June 2010 Report to the Administrator.
- Scoping materials for initial design of EPA research on potential relationships between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources (PDF) (12 pp, 111K)
- June 2010 SAB Report to the EPA Administrator (PDF)
EPA considered SAB's comments, as well as stakeholder comments, in the development of the Draft Study Plan. Four separate SAB meetings (two teleconferences and two face-to-face meetings) were open to the public and provided additional opportunities for the public to provide information and comments to inform the SAB’s review of the Draft Study Plan. EPA considered SAB’s comments, as well as stakeholder comments, in the development of the Final Study Plan, which was released in November 2011. A progress report on the study will be released in December 2012, and a report of results is scheduled for 2014.
- February 2011 Draft Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources (PDF) ("Draft Study Plan")
- February 2011 memo from EPA Office of Science Policy to SAB requesting review of the Draft Study Plan (PDF)
- August 2011 SAB Review of the Draft Study Plan (PDF) (89 pp, 1.4 MB)
- September 2011 EPA Response to SAB's comments on the Draft Study Plan (PDF)
- Table outlining EPA responses to SAB comments on the Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan (PDF)
- November 2011 Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources (PDF) (“Final Study Plan”) (PDF)
SAB Website Links
- SAB Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan - Information on SAB's activities to provide advice on the scientific adequacy and appropriateness of the EPA study. A Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan Review Panel was formed in January 2011. The Panel conducted this review in early March 2011.
- SAB Hydraulic Fracturing Research Plan - Information on SAB's activities to provide advice on the proposed approach and scope of the EPA study, including April 2010 SAB meeting materials, and the June 2010 Final Report to the Administrator (PDF) .
- August 2011 SAB Review of EPA's Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan (PDF) (89 pp, 1.4 MB)
A progress report, describing the status of the research, will be released for SAB review in 2012, followed by a report of results in 2014.