Hickenlooper defends stance on fracking, says more facts are needed

BOULDER, Colo. - Gov. John Hickenlooper defended his stance on fracking Thursday, saying that more research about the process is needed.

Hickenlooper says he is trying to be impartial on issues involving oil and gas production in Colorado, including the industry's use of hydraulic fracturing to reach natural gas deposits.

In a lecture Thursday at the University of Colorado, the former geologist said he is constantly attacked for being in the pocket of oil and gas, which he said is not the case.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Hickenlooper said the science on the impact of fracking is far from settled and the focus should be on getting better facts.

"I am constantly attacked now for being in the pocket of oil and gas, or somehow subservient to their philosophy or their wish," Hickenlooper said, according to the newspaper. "The Quakers have a term called 'fair witness,' someone who comes in and they don't have an ax to grind... and that is what I try to be."

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a gas drilling process that blasts chemical-laden water deep into the ground. Supporters say the process is safe, while opponents say the technique pollutes groundwater.