DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says natural gas drilling is helping the economic recovery and reducing pollution but requires strong regulation now that wells are coming closer to populated areas.
Hickenlooper made the comments Tuesday in Washington, D.C. before a U.S. Senate committee looking at the opportunities and challenges of increased natural gas development.
Hickenlooper said cheap natural gas has helped boost investment in manufacturing and has helped reduce pollution as more coal-fired power plants are replaced with gas-powered ones.
“I think these three issues; the economic recovery, national security and climate are tough challenges, but the crux of each of them is energy,” Hickenlooper said. “We recognize that domestic energy creates jobs and that less foreign imported oil enhances our national security, and that (having a) much cleaner energy will lead to our ability to protect our environment.”
Hickenlooper also told the committee that he once took a swig of fracking fluid to see how safe it was.
His testimony came a day after Colorado regulators voted to increase buffer zones between new oil and gas wells and buildings to a standard 500 feet across the state.
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