The letter was revealing for its honesty. Not so long ago enviros endorsed natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal or oil. Most limited themselves to calling for “better” industry practices, or to solely opposing exports. But as the gas rush has grown, threatening their solar-and-windmill nirvana, greens now openly decry drilling, chiding Mr. Obama for his “support for hydraulic fracturing” and calling on him to keep “our nation’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground.” The letter was signed by Bill McKibben, the director of the anti-Keystone outfit 350.org, as well as directors of nearly every major green shop in the country—the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, CREDO and Earthjustice.
This new demand could not come at a more awkward time for the party. Under fire for ObamaCare and the economy, scores of vulnerable Democrats are rushing to natural gas and drilling as political safe harbors. Supporting fracking allows them to claim they are in favor of more jobs, cheaper energy and rising incomes. Supporting natural-gas exports allows them to look responsive to the Ukraine crisis, or at least more responsive than their unpopular president. It helps, too, that this puts them on the same page as the significant majority of Americans who support more drilling (and pipelines).