Colorado fracking laws stir debate

Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:33 AM

DENVER, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A decision by Colorado lawmakers to enact new regulations on hydraulic fracturing does little to protect the public health, an advocacy group said.

The state government this week said it would require energy companies to conduct before and after water sampling for exploration campaigns that would use hydraulic fracturing.

Colorado holds some of the largest unconventional oil and natural gas reserves in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is controversial because of the perceived danger that some of the chemicals used in the process may contaminate the groundwater.

Food and Water Watch joined a consortium of fracking opponents in calling on state Gov. John Hickenlooper to ban the practice.

The advocacy group said 20 percent of the chemicals used in fracking fluid may be considered carcinogenic. Sam Schabacker, a regional director for Food and Water Watch, said new state laws do little to protect public health.

"Colorado's oil and gas industry is threatening our health, safety and property in order to export natural gas overseas to foreign markets," he said in a statement.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission described its new measures as some of the toughest in the country.

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