A group of House lawmakers Thursday called for the U.S. government to stay out of regulating natural-gas drilling, saying the responsibility ought to be left to state authorities.

The calls, from lawmakers from Pennsylvania and other states where drilling occurs, came as two federal agencies study the safety of a controversial drilling technique used to extract natural gas.

Industry supporters fear the Environmental Protection Agency, which is conducting a long-term study on how gas drilling affects drinking water, will adopt policies or rules that slow U.S. gas production. A production boom in recent years has been followed by growing concerns about the drilling's environmental impact.

The Energy Department also has convened an advisory panel to study drilling safety. The panel held its first meeting this week.

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