EPA official hopeful on gas drilling study

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A top official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is optimistic that a project examining natural gas hydraulic fracturing and drinking water will provide comprehensive guidelines to help scientists and the public identify the key issues.

Glenn Paulson, the EPA's science advisor, says Friday that a progress report should be released before the end of the year, and a final report in 2014. He spoke at a University of Pittsburgh conference on health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Paulson also says he feels the Obama administration is providing enough support to study the issue.

The EPA says natural gas "plays a key role in our nation's clean energy future" but that serious concerns have been raised about potential impacts to the environment and human health.

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