Chu steps into gas drilling debate

But he also said that done wrong it presents risks. “Can you do it incorrectly and start to pollute water tables? Yes,” he said.

Chu cited the potential of abundant natural gas supplies to displace coal, which emits more carbon dioxide when used for electricity, as well as opportunities for wider use in the transportation sector.

Pending bills would overturn a 2005 law that exempted fracking – which involves high-pressure injections of chemicals, water and sand to break apart rock formations – from Safe Drinking Water Act regulation. They would also mandate disclosure of chemicals used.