Congressmen defend 'fracking' as House panel investigates drilling technique

Their letter follows correspondence Waxman and Markey sent to the CEOs of eight drilling companies last month, asking for information about “fracking.” The letter announced an investigation into whether the technique is an environmental threat, as its critics claim.

Their liberal reputations and the wariness with which some industry executives view them notwithstanding, Waxman and Markey’s letter could hardly been viewed as strident. But it did ask companies to list the fluids they use in the process, and noted the environmental concerns. In fracking, sand, water and chemicals are injected underground to break up shale rock and free embedded natural gas.

Boren and Murphy defended the technique and pointed to studies that did not find a any link to groundwater contamination. They added that the materials used are "well known to those who regulate the process and are managed in a way that eliminates vitually any risk of those components coming into contact with shallow reservoirs bearing potable water."

“At the time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, and in a year in which four million Americans lost their jobs, shale gas exploration represents a proven and powerful engine of economic growth – and one this Congress idles at the peril of those it represents.”