Interior Secretary and former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar this week vowed to ‘fully consider’ congressional input as his department decides whether to toughen oversight over the controversial natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing. Salazar’s promise comes as Colorado’s representatives are leading the charge for tighter regulations.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, entails the high-pressure pumping of water and chemicals into the ground in order to free up natural gas for extraction. Environmentalists have long been critical of an exemption in the 2005 Safe Drinking Water Act that allows drilling companies to keep secret the chemicals used in the fracking process. The exemption has come to be known as the Halliburton Loophole, after the company that invented that invented fracking.
Salazar announced in November that the Interior Department was considering whether to change regulations to compel energy companies to disclose the contents of fracking chemicals.