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The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a group of environmental, industry and state regulatory experts who will make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations - harnessing a vital domestic energy resource while ensuring the safety of our drinking water and the health of the environment. President Obama directed Secretary Chu to convene this group as part of the President's "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" - a comprehensive plan to reduce America's oil dependence, save consumers money, and make our country the leader in clean energy industries.

A group of experts with experience in industry, environmental groups and state regulatory agencies will form a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board to conduct the review, and will work to identify, within 90 days of beginning their work, any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing. They will also develop, within six months of beginning their work, consensus recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.

Membership of the group includes:

John Deutch, Institute Professor at MIT (Chair)

Stephen Holditch, Head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund

Kathleen McGinty, Former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Susan Tierney, Managing Principal, Analysis Group

Daniel Yergin, Chairman, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates

Mark Zoback, Professor of Geophysics, Stanford University