GOP Energy Bill Would Do a Big Favor for Halliburton

A measure in a big Republican-backed energy bill would exempt from federal regulation a natural-gas-drilling procedure refined by Halliburton Co., the oil and gas services company previously headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. The process, called hydraulic fracturing, is used widely in Western states and involves the injection of diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid, or other substances into the ground to help increase natural gas production. Enviros argue that hydraulic fracturing has contaminated drinking water in Alabama and could put water in other areas at risk. The massive energy bill, being written and pushed through Congress by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), is expected to contain plenty of other provisions that will make environmentalists cringe.