Washington Times: Is Obama Setting NG Up for a Fall?

It seems that MDN is not the only skeptic when it comes to President Obama’s election year conversion to supporting shale gas and fracking. An article in yesterday’s Washington Times asks the question, “Is the natural gas sector set up by Obama to be sabotaged?” Some industry observers believe the administration is publicly supporting fracking and drilling, while behind the scenes they are attempting to sabotage it:

“They’re trying to make it more difficult for the industry to survive while the president is standing in front of the country saying we’re going to create jobs through hydraulic fracturing,” said Ken von Schaumburg, former deputy counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama “is talking the game, but you can’t support the industry and then have this aggressive rule-making process going on,” Mr. von Schaumburg said.*

While the President talks the talk, his EPA is ready to make it much harder to continue using fracking technology, and his supporters are talking of a total ban on fracking:

The agency [EPA] will this year release a widely anticipated study on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the use of water, sand and chemical mixtures to crack underground rock and release huge quantities of gas. The practice is widely used in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and other states, and has helped revitalize small-town economies and led directly to the creation of thousands of jobs in recent years.

Many in the gas industry fear that the upcoming EPA study will call for harsh new regulations on the process, and many environmental groups – a key constituency for Mr. Obama during this year’s re-election bid – are publicly pushing the administration to outlaw fracking entirely.

“We can’t wait much longer for the clean energy revolution. We need to clean up a fossil fuel industry run amok, by ensuring … natural gas safeguards that go much further than what the president suggested,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement after the State of the Union address.*

The EPA has tried to tie fracking to chemical contamination of water supplies in Pavillion, Wyoming, even though the fracking done in Pavillion was not done in shale and even though the EPA’s so-called study has not been subject to any kind of review—yet. The EPA is now on a fishing expedition in Dimock, Pennsylvania to see if they can twist the data there to be their second case of chemical contamination of water supplies due to fracking—this one is in a shale drilling operation.

Bottom line: Obama’s actions (via his EPA) and his words, don’t match up.

*The Washington Times (Jan 29, 2012) – Natural gas sector set up by Obama to be sabotaged?