Obama State of the Union: Safe Fracking will Create 600K Jobs

President Barack ObamaLast night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to Congress. Energy and natural gas played a big role in the speech. In particular, Obama acknowledges the jobs-generating power of natural gas drilling, saying it can generate 600,000 jobs by the end of this decade. He also mandated a requirement that gas drillers on public lands disclose the chemicals they use. (Disclosing fracking chemicals is already the law in five states and mostly enforced in a sixth—see this MDN story).

Obama said the U.S. has enough natural gas to last us 100 years and that he’s going to “take every possible action” to develop it. He also reaffirmed his belief in global warming.

Here is the relevant portion of the Obama’s State of the Union address that talks about energy and natural gas:

And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. (Applause.) Right now — right now — American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right — eight years. Not only that — last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years. (Applause.)

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. (Applause.) A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. (Applause.) And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. (Applause.) Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. (Applause.) And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock — reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground. (Applause.)

Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, "I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future."

Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away. Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. (Applause.) I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.

We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. (Applause.) It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs. (Applause.)

We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well, tonight, I will. I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history — with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year. (Applause.)

Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s a proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs. (Applause.)*

MDN’s view: There’s some mixed signals here. While Obama seems to be saying full steam ahead with shale gas drilling and fracking, at the same time, it’s his rogue EPA that’s trying to shut down fracking by grabbing the power to regulate it. It’s his EPA that’s trying to tie chemical contamination to fracking in Pavillion, WY—a PR offensive to try and turn the public against it. It’s Obama’s most avid supporters who are trying to shut down all fracking until a comprehensive study on fracking by the EPA is completed in 2014.

Obama says in the past three years his administration has opened millions of acres of public land for oil and gas exploration. Really?! His administration has shut down drilling on public lands and disallowed off-shore drilling which has forced drilling platforms to relocate to other oceans (and not likely to return here for decades, if ever). His administration continues to block drilling in the frozen tundra wastelands of ANWR in Alaska. And the crowning achievement, he blocked the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada that would also move oil from our own Bakken fields in North Dakota to Midwest and Southwest markets for refining—at a time when the price of oil is hitting record highs. Flowery words don’t paper over an abysmal energy record.

Obama’s parting statement about wasting less (i.e. using less) energy reminds MDN of Jimmy Carter’s encouragements to turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater. Obama’s version of Carter: “Upgrade” your buildings—whatever that means. Blow-in insulation? Throw a solar panel on the roof? Rip old buildings down and build new ones? No doubt, the government—meaning you and me, the taxpayers—will foot the bill, once again. No thanks.

*CBS News (Jan 24, 2012) – Obama’s State of the Union address: Full text

  • Anonymous

    All I heard was an hour of lie after lie. Obama is such a dynamic speaker and rarely messes up “his” message, he almost makes you believe what he is saying, and I can see how he woo’s the public in. But the facts, are the facts and Jim you hit the nail on the head. I heard the Natural Gas rhetoric last night and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He said the same thing at pre-election and now its 4 years later and NY is at a stand still due to the true liberal views on Gas exploration.People are losing their farms and lands as he speaks lies. The stalling of Martens and Cuomo were planned right from the beginning using every available tactic at their disposal to hurt NYers from their landowner rights. This administration has us ( middle class) 14 trillion dollars in debt because of big Insurance, big Bank, and big Auto, bailouts over the last three years. The only people footing the bill and taking it on the chin is US ( middle class). Obama is completely out of touch with whats going on in America.I especially could not believe his pumped up attitude that things are getting better with his confident demeanor. Our only hope is to put a true business man in office that knows and has experience running a company and run this country like a business. No handouts, No bailouts, No borrowing, No over taxing any one class,fixing America and not worrying about the rest of the worlds problems, stopping the China take over. If only Obama would believe what he was saying, and actually put it into action, this country would have been on the road to recovery!!  God help us!! 

  • Anonymous

    Jim,
     President Obama last night gave his blessing to shale gas development.Since shale gas can only effectively be produced with fracking, this should end all fears that the EPA will  try to limit or ban hydro-fracking.The EPA WILL require safer fracking procedures ,pressure for use of less toxic chemicals  and perhaps encourage alternative fracking technologies.You should be giddy with happiness but all I hear hear in your article is doubt and suspicion . Suspend your bias of the current administration and allow yourself for a moment believe President Obama when he says we as a nation need development of all sources of energy in a way that protects the health of our citizens and protects the environment.
      

  • Anonymous

    NPR had a variety of independent organizations “fact check” both Obama’s statements and the Replblican rebuttle. While they didn’t give a numeric score the analysis I heard was Obama was about 98% accurate and the rebuttle was less than 50% accurate. That analysis coincides with what I heard as well.

  • I certainly hope you’re right. But the hardened cynic in me says, watch what they do, not what they say. And so far, the actions have not backed up the words. No one would be happier than I if it turns out they have finally come around to our way of thinking on shale gas!

  • Yes, that paragon of independent, non-partisan virtue known as “public” broadcasting. They only report the God’s honest truth, right? Get real!

    I recall that old question: How do you know when a politician is lying? See if you can guess the answer.

  • Anonymous

    dtsturrock your exactly the type of person I’m talking about in my last post.you were woo’d and  want to believe every thing you hear from Obama and the slanted news media,really you believe the liberal NEWS ,are you serious? What rock have you been sleeping under? The numbers speak for themselves period. The highest unemployment since the great depression still here( they say 9-10 % double that), the highest debt in the history of this country 14 trillion and climbing still here and growing every day, the highest numbers of foreclosures since the depression, the slowest GDP since he has taken office. That’s whats happening, how about just walking around your neighborhood and talking to your neighbors, tell me what they say about this administration. He is a sham,my man and the saying around my neighborhood is ” The Bro has got to go”. Obama is an Actor, a real good one, kinda like Clinton when he used to bite his bottom lip almost ready to cry( remember that move). We do not need touchy make me feel good speeches anymore. We need extreme action, with a congress and house that will sit down and do the work and create new policy, but especially to get the hell out of the way so businesses can breath and grow. Obama is a lame duck president, the republicans will not budge on their fundamental issues and that’s it. He knows his hands are tied. I  just couldn’t believe his positive, look what I have done bravado speech/ attitude. Answer me this question. Are you better off now than in 2006? If you are then your the 2%. I lost two businesses from 2007 because of the financial meltdown. All the banks got bailed out. I was left to die a slow death I have land in NY that has natural gas under my feet yet I cant drill on it and climb out of this hole because of Obama’s policy. Everywhere I turn the Government got its nose either stopping me from exercising my rights as a land owner, or helping out the 1%( banks) and leaving me the middle class to wither away and die. That is whats going on in this country.

  • Anonymous

    Those nasty facts getting in the way of a good, well-versed ideology again, Jim? As a loyal NPR listener (as well as an occasional FOX News viewer) I’d have to say NPR frames the issue as fairly as I’ve seen it.

  • Anonymous

     
    Here are a few quotes from SOTU last night. I painstakenly diciphered the BS quote by quote

    What’s true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.What it really means: The Green Energy “movement” is one of my biggest backers and they have deep pockets. To keep them happy I subsidize their businesses with tax payer money and they keep me in my job. Unfortunately this source of energy is 20 years away from being viable and affordable to the common man, and the business I subsidized are dropping like flys because there is no market for them. But hell I ain’t paying for it YOU are!!

    We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
    Once he put the words “health & safe” he left himself a loophole. The same loophole he used not more than a week ago on the Keystone pipeline. You see in a liberals’ world, nothing can be done safely or wothout risk to health unless it is studied for unessecary time period thus making it obsolete by the time these studies are completed. He took a page from the Joe and Andy show right here in NY!
    And that concludes my deciphering of the BS. . .

  • Anonymous

     
    Here are a few quotes from SOTU last night. I painstakenly diciphered the BS quote by quote

    What’s true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.What it really means: The Green Energy “movement” is one of my biggest backers and they have deep pockets. To keep them happy I subsidize their businesses with tax payer money and they keep me in my job. Unfortunately this source of energy is 20 years away from being viable and affordable to the common man, and the business I subsidized are dropping like flys because there is no market for them. But hell I ain’t paying for it YOU are!!

    We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
    Once he put the words “health & safe” he left himself a loophole. The same loophole he used not more than a week ago on the Keystone pipeline. You see in a liberals’ world, nothing can be done safely or wothout risk to health unless it is studied for unessecary time period thus making it obsolete by the time these studies are completed. He took a page from the Joe and Andy show right here in NY!
    And that concludes my deciphering of the BS. . .

  • If you’re a loyal NPR listener, I’m afraid we don’t have much to talk about spaceman. I won’t try to burst your pre-programmed liberal bubble.

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