Two Ithaca-area lawmakers have begun inquiries following reports that the gas industry may have underestimated the cost of extracting shale gas from underground formations.

New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, and U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, expressed alarm after reports in The New York Times on Monday revealed that rule changes and oversight problems at the Securities and Exchange Commission may have caused natural gas companies to overestimate their reserves. The Times also detailed the use of data from industry-biased sources and intra-agency disagreements regarding gas reserve estimates at the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

"These reports raise serious questions about the economics behind the shale gas rush," Hinchey said. "Now, it's up to the SEC and the EIA to get to the bottom of these charges and ensure that the public has accurate and honest information about our country's shale gas reserves. EIA has some serious questions to answer and the SEC needs to investigate whether investors have been intentionally misled."

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