By Ben Geman - 11/30/10 06:41 PM EST
Fracking is enabling a boom in U.S. gas development but also raising fears of groundwater contamination.
The industry says that fears of groundwater contamination are badly overblown, arguing that fracking techniques have a proven record of safely isolating chemicals from water supplies.
Salazar and White House energy czar Carol Browner lauded the benefits of natural gas as an abundant domestic energy source that's lower in carbon content than other fossil fuels. But they also said it must be developed with an eye toward environmental protection.
"What today is about is trying to set aside those differences and try and find common ground," Browner said at the Interior Department event with oil-and-gas industry officials and environmentalists.
President Obama has called natural-gas development an area ripe for bipartisan cooperation. But new requirements on drillers could set up a clash with the industry and its Capitol Hill allies, as reported in this morning's Energy Roundup.