Agency Directors Defend Budget Proposals in front of House subcommittees

U.S. Geological Survey

On Wednesday, March 6, 2012, Marcia McNutt, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, appeared before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to defend a proposed $1.1 billion budget, a $34.5 million increase over FY 2012.

USGS is proposing a 70 percent increase in funding to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, which would allow the organization to contribute $18.6 million to a research effort in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

In her opening remarks, McNutt stated that the collaborative effort would “address the highest priority challenges associated with safely and prudently developing unconventional natural gas resources.”

Read U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt’s entire opening remarks.

U.S. Department of Energy

Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary, recently requested a $27.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2013.

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, Chu defended his budget in front of members of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.

The proposed budget includes $12 million for the Department to contribute to an initiative between the DOE, the Department of Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency to research and minimize potential harmful impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

Chu denied that he was looking for a way to shut down fracturing operations and said that he is focused on ensuring hydraulic fracturing is done in an environmentally responsible manner.

Additionally, he noted that “President Obama is committed to developing our oil and gas resources in a safe and sustainable manner. Last year, our oil import dependence was at its lowest level in 16 years, oil production reached its highest level in eight years and natural gas production set a new record.”

Read U.S. Dep’t. of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s opening remarks on the DOE’s proposed budget.


Also on Tuesday, February 28th, Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, defended President Obama’s proposed $8.3 billion budget for the EPA before two subcommittees of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Subcommittee members questioned Jackson on her opinions on hydraulic fracturing.

Jackson noted the necessity of hydraulic fracturing to access the country’s natural gas resources, but stated that federal regulators still need to study the process’s impact on the environment.

The budget sets aside $45 million for the EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the DOE to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in order to develop new regulations, including $14 million dedicated to studying shale gas development.

In Jackson’s opening remarks to the subcommittees, she stated that the budget “continues EPA's ongoing congressionally directed hydraulic fracturing study, which we have taken great steps to ensure is independent, peer reviewed and based on strong and scientifically defensible data.”

Read the Head of the EPA Lisa Jackson’s entire opening remarks.