Oh, great: More fracking rules are definitely happening by 2013

As if we didn’t already have ample enough reasons to not reelect Barack Obama this November, here’s yet another dagger to our nation’s economic energy outlook: Try as they might to insist that an “all of the above” strategy is their primary energy agenda, the Obama administration has consistently gotten in the way of affordable, traditional energy with unnecessarily crippling regulations.


Despite its moneymaking and fewer-carbon-emissions potential, natural gas just can’t catch a break, either. The environmental lobby hates the very idea of “fracking,” the practice often used to extract natural gas from the ground, and Team Obama needs the environmental lobby for their reelection bid. Ergo:

Heather Zichal, the top White House energy aide, told reporters that she expects the Interior Department rules regulating hydraulic fracturing, dubbed fracking, to be completed by year’s end.

“We are committed to doing the rule and we are committed to finalizing it,” Zichal told reporters after remarks at the think tank NDN.

Advocates of tougher “fracking” oversight will have their eyes on the calendar, especially if President Obama loses the White House to Mitt Romney, his GOP rival. …

In her wide-ranging remarks on energy to the group, Zichal touted White House plans to spur development of both traditional and alternative sources, including natural gas.

Here’s the thing: The Interior Department, the EPA, et al, rolling out new fracking regulations would be totally legitimate… if they had managed to produce any definitive evidence condemning the practice (because right now, irreversible groundwater contamination and earthquakes are leading them nowhere).

But fracking has suffered from a steady and well-monied campaign of misinformation from the environmentalist lobby, which doesn’t like the idea of cheap fuel available to the masses (even though natural gas is relatively cleaner than traditional sources), and unfortunately, the Obama administration knows well enough to keep the greenies appeased.


Natural gas has already demonstrated a great aptitude for fitting in with our infrastructure, and investors are going absolutely bonkers over its potential without any pushing from the federal government necessary. We could all be starting our natural-gas engines in the foreseeable future, if the government would just quit dithering and provide some certainty:

The recent deluge of low-cost shale gas is already changing the way the country runs. Electric utilities are turning to gas to power their turbines, and chemical companies that rely on the fuel are coming back to the U.S. after years of investing overseas.

But the holy grail is transportation.

Every day, we consume 70% of our oil getting from place to place—and produce more than 30% of our greenhouse gases along the way. If we could run our vehicles on natural gas, it could kill two birds with one stone: Not only is natural gas a lot cheaper than oil right now, but its emissions are much cleaner than gasoline or diesel.

“This abundance of natural gas is something we weren’t expecting as a country, but it’s here now, and it’s a gift we should take advantage of,” says Steven Mueller, chief executive of Houston-based natural-gas producer Southwestern Energy Co. “There’s huge savings here and a way to help to environment.” …

“It’s attractive to customers because it’s a domestic product, there’s a steady supply, and the price is right,” says John McHugh, Kwik Trip’s communications manager. “If we can offer the consumer a value, we know people will jump on the bandwagon.”


But alas, the environmental lobby just keeps providing excuses for the federal government to grab power and stick their noses where they don’t belong, one chimerical ecological catastrophe at a time.

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David Strom 7:00 AM | May 18, 2024