FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 09, 2012

American Chemical Society hosts Feb. 23 Capitol Hill Briefing on Shale Gas Development

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2012 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) Science & the Congress Project invites news media to attend a luncheon briefing on “Shale Gas Development: How to Secure Both Energy and the Environment for Economic Benefit.” It will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building 2325. Please RSVP to

This briefing will explore the question: How can we best understand the balance between the environmental aspects of extracting shale gas and the economic benefits of doing so? In recent decades, the energy industry has developed methods that now allow access to substantial reserves of natural gas that reside in porous, shale rock several hundred to several thousand feet below the earth’s surface. These methods include horizontal drilling and injecting hydraulic fracturing fluids to “frack” subterranean fissures through which natural gas can flow to the surface and be extracted. Tapping shale gas in locales such as the Barnett Shale in Texas and the six-state Marcellus Shale has proven to be economically feasible. However, introducing drilling facilities to these communities (some of which are suburban) that were previously unfamiliar with shale gas infrastructure has raised concerns. Injecting fluids containing “fracking” chemicals into the ground has raised concerns about the quality of drinking water, as well as potential surface spillage and emissions of methane—a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). On the other hand, tapping into the United States’ supply of shale gas has the potential to create a significant number of jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil and could be a stepping stone to greener energy.

The briefing will feature the following panelists and an open discussion:

Welcome: Maria Burka, Ph.D., Past President, AIChE

Moderator: Dale Keairns, Ph.D., Booz Allen Hamilton


  • Rich Liroff, Ph.D., Investor Environmental Health Network
  • Peter MacKenzie, Ohio Oil & Gas Association
  • Leslie Savage, Railroad Commission of Texas
  • Matthew Watson, Environmental Defense Fund

The Science & the Congress Project was established in 1995 to provide a neutral and credible source of scientific information targeted to policymakers on Capitol Hill. Expert speakers are chosen to provide a balanced presentation about the topic under discussion, and their comments are independent of any position that may be held by the ACS, the sponsors of Science & the Congress, or its co-hosts. For more information, visit

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