Huzzah! …Er, maybe? Hopefully? When I say “proponent,” I mean that in the sort of weak-tea, oh-so-careful, still-a-greenie-enthusiast, bureaucratic sense of the word, and I don’t want to speak too soon (Lisa Jackson was a kind of Fracking “Supporter” In Name Only), but… at least it isn’t one of those fossil fuel-loathing, hardcore eco-zealots currently lobbying President Obama so hard against the practice of hydraulic fracturing altogether. Although, I doubt he thinks it would be politically wise to nominate that type of candidate anyway, despite his epic born-again climate-change championing. That’s just not the way the world is headed, and I suspect he’s looking to build an administration ready to start really touting natural gas as a great middle ground that fits in nicely with his ostensible “all of the above” approach. Reuters reports:
President Barack Obama is considering naming nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, one of his science and energy advisers, as the next energy secretary, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
Moniz, who was undersecretary at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration, is a familiar figure on Capitol Hill, where he has often talked to lawmakers about how abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas will gradually replace coal as a source of electricity.
Moniz is director of MIT’s Energy Initiative, a research group that gets funding from industry heavyweights including BP, Chevron, and Saudi Aramco for academic work on projects aimed at reducing climate-changing greenhouse gases. …
Moniz would bring scientific acumen to the job, but he also has worked closely with industry and promoted natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to lower carbon pollution while new innovative forms of energy are being developed.
I know this is Obama we’re talking about, so obviously the green-energy subsidies and pious regulations are not going away, and we won’t be fully turning on the tap with our drilling operations, but at least this guy sounds willing to acknowledge and even promote the simple fact that natural gas (and, by extension, hydraulic fracturing) is a pragmatic boon to the the environmentalist goal of cutting down on carbon emissions — something that greenies and eco-lobbies seem readily eager to neglect when expending their devout protesting energies to completely eliminating the practice of fracking. So, he’s got that going for him. Little victories, right?
The shale oil-and-gas industries may be booming, but America’s policies, regulations, and infrastructures are not up to date with the abundance that hydraulic fracturing has unleashed in the past few years. If — if — President Obama is serious about actually giving the oil and natural gas revolution some of the credit it deserves (and this guy needs all the economic help he can get), the new Energy secretary will need to be up to the task:
A boom in North American oil production is under way, thanks in part to technological advances that are unlocking millions of barrels of oil that were previously inaccessible. But as these new supplies are extracted, they are facing logistical and policy hurdles above ground. …
But it is no secret that once the oil is extracted from wells in the country’s midsection, it often faces a long and complicated journey to refineries, many of which are located on the coasts.
Transportation bottlenecks are one of the main reasons why US crude trades at a discount to international benchmarks. …
Some may see this as a choice between keeping American oil within US borders for reasons of economic security and allowing the US to generate billions of dollars in new export revenues. But market realities suggest a far simpler decision ahead: either US crude is shipped abroad or it stays in the ground.