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U.S. House wants to hear more on fracking

Oct. 12, 2011 at 6:59 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is called on to testify before a House committee on issues related to hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, a lawmaker said.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter to Salazar calling on him to testify regarding plans to issue rules for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands.

"It is our responsibility, as the committee with jurisdiction on activities on federal lands, to carefully examine this issue and ensure any action proposed by the department is within the law and takes into consideration the impacts on jobs, communities, revenues, states and our economy," Hasting's letter read.

Salazar said recently his department would take up the matter before the end of the year.

Critics of the practice say fracking fluid contains harmful chemicals that could contaminate aquifers. Energy companies counter that fracking, if done correctly, doesn't pose a significant environmental threat.

Hasting's committee said fracking has been regulated by state authorities effectively for more than 60 years.

The United States has some of the richest deposits of shale gas, mostly in territory east of the Mississippi River.

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