Friday, October 28, 2011

Natural Gas & President Obama

"Is the EPA and President Obama trying to shutdown natural gas production?" Like the question about whether Pennsylvania's rivers are glowing with radiation caused by drilling, the question about the EPA and President Obama is regularly asked, despite the fact that 2011 is going to be the record year for natural gas production.

President Obama and his EPA is doing a lousy job of shutting down the gas industry if that were their goal. Consider further these facts:

2009, 2010, and 2011 were 3 of the 4 highest years of gas production in the history of the United States. In 2010, natural gas passed coal to provide more energy for the USA for the first time since the early 1980s. All that on President Obama's watch.

But this data does not prevent the Wall Street Journal from printing as its featured letter to the editor just yesterday one that said: "President Obama has been very candid about his view, which essentially is that oil and gas industry must be stopped--regardless of the effects on our economy and national security."

The foregoing is as crazy as saying that gas drilling caused Pennsylvania's streams to be polluted with radionuclides. The nation is so polarized and the warring political camps speak often only to themselves that crazy is normal.


  1. I think lumping oil and gas together is the problem. Clearly, with EPA's regulations that are impacting coal plants, the administration has to hope (at least privately) that natural gas development continues to roll, and the extended timeline (2014?) for developing wastewater discharge regulations indicates they don't want to stop gas development.

    With crude oil exploration, I don't see the administration as supportive, given the delays on the Keystone pipeline, the restrictions on public lands and the new and de facto regulations in the wake of the Gulf Deepwater incident. This distinction may be well-supported based on emissions (gas favored over crude oil) and economics (gas much cheaper than crude on a BTU basis).

  2. That is part of it. This administration does view gas and oil differently. Yet remember a month before the disaster in the Gulf the administration had moved to open more offshore drilling. The President 5 weeks later had egg all over his face in the minds of many and took a lot of heat from his base.

    This President like President Bush has also been pursuing the theme of breaking the addiction to oil (President Bush's language).