Obama continues his war on cheap American energy
Barack Obama's EPA has been on a crusade to kill off efforts to boost America's domestic energy supplies. We are now among the least attractive nations for energy companies seeking to explore and develop energy supplies. The American people are waking up to the man-made disaster that Barack Obama has created. Three quarters of Americans now think our oil and gas resources are under-exploited. Yet, Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are doing all they can do kill carbon and jam down our throats ruinously expensive and uneconomic green schemes that benefit their donors.
Among the steps they are now taking is jury-rigging a panel that the EPA has created to "study" shale gas, tilting the verdict on the safety of developing this abundant and cheap energy resource. Shale gas uses a technology called "fracking" to release natural gas trapped in shale rock, thousands and thousands of feet underground and well-below water tables. Fracking has become a hot technology -- one that Obama and the greens that stand with him (and help fund his political campaigns) want to throw ice water on.
Kathleen Hartnett White reports about this scheme at National Review:
A congressional hearing held in May revealed fatal flaws in what was supposed to be a definitive, vigorously peer-reviewed study. For one thing, it will be an inside job from the EPA; the study's review panel excludes anyone with professional expertise in current industry practices or the technology of hydraulic fracturing. Under the current administration, industry experts, like highly credentialed professors of petroleum engineering, are assumed to be shills for greedy enterprises.
The EPA study has some other serious defects. It will cherry-pick only four wells, out of hundreds of thousands, for full forensic analysis, and it has excluded representatives of state regulatory agencies - which have six decades of experience in regulating this practice, which began in 1948 - from its review panel. Nor do the researchers seem aware of the difference between, on one hand, models of the assumed effects of hydraulic fracturing and, on the other, physical measurements of the results of hundreds of actual fracking treatments. To learn the fundamentals of this issue, the EPA would have to bother to speak with experts on the technology.
The study seems designed to substantiate a predetermined conclusion: that hydraulic fracturing poses grave risks. Therefore the EPA must either assert regulatory control on all drilling using this technology, or issue a "temporary" moratorium - as in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf spill - until further study is complete. If fracking is delayed or discontinued, massive resources will remain untapped, hundreds of thousands of jobs will not be created, and billions of dollars of potential federal, state, and local tax revenues will be lost.
We have seen Obama stack panels before as part of a tactic to drive his agenda. At his recent press conference, he refused to intervene in the dispute between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB is suing Boeing to prevent its new billion-dollar South Carolina assembly plant from opening. South Carolina is a right-to-work state and the NLRB in an unprecedented way is claiming that Boeing is illegally trying to hurt unions by putting workers to work in South Carolina rather than in Washington state-where its labor force is unionized and regularly cause crippling strikes. When Obama was asked about this controversy, he waved off commenting, stating that the NLRB was an independent agency. This is specious. Obama appointed most of the members of the NLRB and even used a recess appointment for one of them Craig Becker, who was a lead attorney for one of the most aggressive unions in America, the Obama-linked SEIU.
Even if the panel should somehow miraculously decide that fracking is safe, there is a history of Obama appointees rewriting decisions from panels evaluating the safety of energy development, so as to change the outcomes to suit Obama's biases against cheap and abundant (and American) energy. When the Gulf of Mexico oil drilling platform Macondo sprang a leak, a panel's conclusion regarding the safety of offshore oil drilling was doctored by White House political appointee Carol Browner (or someone operating under her authority) to make it appear that the panel of experts endorsed a moratorium on offshore drilling . When this manipulation of science was brought to light, many members of the panel objected to the distortion of their views and disavowed the "report" .
Stacking panels with ideological soul-mates is Barack Obama's modus operandi. If that does not work to accomplish his goals, creative re-writing is the next step. There is always one more trick in Obama's pocket that he can use to keep us away from cheap, abundant and American energy.