Topics: Barack Obama

Ken Salazar, Steven Chu praise fracking as 'safe'

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Beltway Confidential,Barack Obama,Interior,Ashe Schow,Energy and Environment,Fracking

Two former high-profile members of President Obama's cabinet are reassuring the public that hydraulic fracturing —fracking — is a safe technology for extracting oil and natural gas.

"This is something you can do in a safe way,” former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said while speaking in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 18. He also said that it was a “false choice” to say that the country can either preserve the environment or acquire cheap natural gas.

More than 1,000 miles away, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was singing the same tune.

“I would say to everybody that hydraulic fracking is safe,” Salazar said during a conference in Las Cruces, N.M. He said that fracking was “creating an energy revolution in the United States.”

Chu and Salazar joined current Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, who in early September praised fracking as “a big contributor to our carbon reduction” and “a huge economic benefit.”

Obama has praised natural gas, although he hasn’t said much in support of fracking. In his June 25 speech on global warming, Obama said America “should strengthen our position as the top natural-gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.”

Praise from such high officials has not stopped the anti-fracking crowd from mobilizing. New York instituted a moratorium on fracking, and Colorado and Pennsylvania both have legislation in the works to ban the practice.

Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., recently signed a bill that regulates fracking. And several cities and towns across the country have their own bans.

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