It would be a mistake to assume, on any front and particularly given the obvious denial and failure to receive the voters’ message, that President Obama has suddenly converted on his key policy and/or ideological stances.
For relevant purposes, the best guidepost along the way of interpreting his words is the statement that cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat, and now he’ll find others.
So, I’m pretty confident that this (and this) response to Obama’s strange newfound support for domestic drilling and production of natural gas misses what is really going on (also detailed in Chapter 9 , “Insecurity Complex”, here). It is not in fact, as some have posited, a political pivot to woo Pennsylvania, at least outside of the Sestak base (Sestak oddly ran against the nascent gas boom, supporting instead Obama’s efforts described below).
Specifically, Obama’s comment causing ripples of excitement was:
“We’ve got, I think, broad agreement that we’ve got terrific natural gas resources in this country,” Obama said when he was pressed for issues on which he could compromise with Republican leaders. “Are we doing everything we can to develop those?”
Good grief. He knows the answer is ‘yes’ — there is a nascent boom in at least six states because the private sector sees value in bringing those resources to market. And the Obama administration, allied with some of the more left-wing Members of Congress, has spent two years trying to wrest control of this to limit the boom to a boomlet.
This crowd, who have never wanted abundant energy resources and are committed to keeping supplies lower and prices higher, seek to remove regulation of the well-established technique of gas production called hydraulic fracturing, of “fracking”, from the states. States have regulated the practice perfectly ‘well’ for 60 years.
But the energy-scarcity set insist, suddenly, that EPA should better handle things now that, with new developments in discovery and drilling technology, we have an enormous new volume (threat) of easily recoverable gas. So they are running through their alarmist cycle of ‘could’ and ‘might’, this time about contamination from the water, sand and detergents used under pressure to liberate the hydrocarbons from their stony, subterranean prison.
Despite a record of 60 years. So, like global warming, this is further adaptation of the greens’ “maybe!”, “might!” routine they use to block energy production, if premised in the notion that the states are now suddenly incomeptent regulators.
So here is the less-emphasized rest of Obama’s alleged conversion:
“One of the things that’s very important for me is not to have us ignore the science, but rather to find ways that we can solve these problems that don’t hurt the economy, that encourage the development of clean energy in this country,” Obama said. “And I think EPA wants help from the Legislature on this.”
First of all, for sincerity and credibility purposes, recall this is his same argument for the windmill mandate. And parsed, he is saying: He’s still promoting the global warming agenda. The private sector and states working to develop the gas fields doesn’t qualify as the statist’s form of “encouragement of development”. Lots of coal and lots of gas is not what he advocated. So EPA wants to help the poor Congress out in their struggles to come to grips with his agenda.
Here is what Obama is trying not to say in this entry in the listen to how moderate I now sound sweepstakes (like telling Republicans, shut out of the process for two years, that maybe now they’ll figure out they need to work with him). He wants another (drum roll/theme from “Jaws”) ‘comprehensive’ bill that a) strips states of their authority to regulate the practice, giving it to an EPA run by someone Rolling Stone hailed as the most activist and radical EPA chief ever, b) on the premise that, gee, with so very much gas now out there, we need to assume it could contaminate drinking water despite the record, c) combined not with incentives to produce — unless you share the Left’s argument that making coal uneconomic is an incentive to produce gas — but expensive restrictions on coal use that also hit gas, if less hard. That means making energy more expensive.
Thanks to centuries of supply, barring successful implementation of Obama’s anti-energy agenda coal will remain our economic energy source. Gas should remain a competitive second if the administration left it alone. But affordable energy is anathema to these people. They need to raise the price of coal so it is uneconomic (remember this?) and gas so we finally bring American energy use in line with what these people believe to be appropriate.
There is no need to ‘incentivize’ an energy boom, that’s underway, by seizing control over it for EPA of all things! This reminds us Obama is the same guy who took to the Oval Office to say the offshore drilling moratorium was good for us for the same reasons. And that we were only in deep water because we’ve run out of the stuff elsewhere. Sigh.
The states have and are exercising every interest in safely developing the strikes. The strikes, however, strike fear and loathing in the minds of the anti-energy Left, of which Obama has proved he is part. This rhetorical sop is a misdirection play. It is not about incentivizing anything. It is another way of skinning the cat. As promised in the same speech.
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