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Interior could unveil gas ‘fracking’ rules within weeks

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” involves high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and sand into rock formations, which open up cracks that enable trapped gas to flow.

Use of fracking in shale-gas formations is enabling a U.S. gas boom, but bringing concerns about water contamination along with it.

Salazar said natural-gas development is important for the country’s energy future, and reiterated his warnings of a public backlash absent more transparency of chemicals used.

He said public concern about the underground injections is the Achilles's heel of natural gas that must be addressed.

“There should be transparency and full disclosure, otherwise people are going to get very understandably concerned about what is being injected into the underground,” Salazar said.

“I think hydraulic fracking is very much a necessary part of the future of natural gas,” he said. “I think hydraulic fracking can be done in a safe way, in an environmentally responsible way, and in a way that doesn’t create all the concerns that it is creating across the country right now.”