WASHINGTON - Gov. John Hickenlooper testified in favor of an "all of the above" approach to energy before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.
The Senate committee heard from several witnesses, including Hickenlooper, on the opportunities and challenges associated with natural gas. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., introduced the governor.
Hickenlooper told the senators that three major, inter-connected issues for the United States - the economy, national security and climate change - are all affected by energy.
A domestic-energy strategy creates jobs, protects national security and makes the planet cleaner, Hickenlooper testified.
Renewable energy and natural gas are both parts of such a strategy, he said. Colorado is trying to create a national model for gas extraction, Hickenlooper said, with robust groundwater and air-quality testing as drilling sites get closer to communities.
"We're showing Washington how we do it," he said in an interview on his way to the hearing. "What cutting-edge regulation looks like."
Colorado is the seventh largest natural-gas producer, according to the Colorado Geological Survey. Fifty-nine percent of the state's natural-gas protection is exported to the rest of the country.
States should take the lead in writing reasonable and comprehensive regulations, Hickenlooper said, and the federal government should then work with states to cut red tape.
"States are the laboratory of democracy," he said.
Hickenlooper also called himself a "recovering geologist" and said he once drank fracking fluid.
Stefanie Dazio is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.