April 4, 2014 – By Mark Stricherz – The Colorado Observer
WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Sally Jewell surprised House lawmakers during a budget hearing Thursday by giving a qualified endorsement of hydraulic fracturing, a process opposed by many environmental groups.
Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who asked Jewell her opinion of the safety of fracking, put out a press release even before Jewell’s testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee was finished.
In an interview outside the Capitol, Lamborn said Jewell’s remarks were politically advantageous to fracking supporters. “It helps defeat the bogeyman that some people have made fracking out to be,” he said.
Lamborn acknowledged that Jewell’s remarks could help fracking supporters at the ballot box in November, especially among independents who represent roughly one-third of the state’s registered voters.
A majority of Independents and Republicans in Colorado are supportive of fracking, according to a November Quinnipiac University poll. While 53 percent of Independents said fracking was very or somewhat safe, 81 percent of Republicans also agreed.
Jewell told the House panel that the safety of fracking depended on the quality of the cement used to carry the liquids.