NRDC pushes tougher fracking regulations

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The controversy between environmentalists and the energy industry over hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", for natural gas continues to grow.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on Tuesday implored a Senate panel to implement stronger environmental and health regulations on the process, which involves injecting chemicals beneath the ground to loosen and extract natural gas reserves.

"As of now, we lack such safeguards," NRDC President Frances Beinecke said in her testimony. "And those protections we do have are no match for the explosive growth in the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in some three dozen states across this country," she said.

NRDC recommends halting further fracking until regulations can be implemented and until citizens and townspeople where fracking is happening can better understand the process. She cited mounting scientific evidence that fracking can lead to groundwater contamination and air pollution.

Fracking legislation continues to stall at the Federal level, and states like New York have also faced obstacles passing tighter legislation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently investigating health and environmental impacts of fracking.

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