EPA Fracking Report and Energy Politics
Yesterday's EPA report raising water pollution worries about fracking in Wyoming amounts to psy-ops in the Obama re-election campaign.
One of President Obama's biggest electoral vulnerabilities is his energy policy, which impoverishes America and hands money we borrow from the Chinese to enrich Hugo Chavez, OPEC, and other foes. The Keystone Pipeline alone will cost a hundred thousand jobs or more when spinoffs are considered, many of them high paying.
The electorate is coming to realize that there are a lot of new hydrocarbon resources out there in the American interior and offshore. Even the New York Times has noted the oil boom in North Dakota, poster child for the New American Prosperity that lies ahead if we vigorously pursue the energy opportunities that lie ahead. Energy independence is in prospect, and that alone would change the strategic dynamics of world politics, and weaken many of our overseas antagonists. Oil prices could actually drop substantially if the worldwide potential of oil sands, shale, and fracking of natural gas is developed.
The biggest game changer of all is the bounty of clean-burning natural gas unlocked by fracking, with which America is particularly well-endowed.
The only way Obama can defend his energy policies is to raise fears of pollution.
Cue the EPA which released a "draft" report raising fears. But the report itself actually uses weasel words like "may" and "possible" 14 times.
A spokesman for Encana Corporation, a natural gas producer in Wyoming was acerbic:
"This really isn't a conclusion, it's a probability. They talk about likelihood, but they don't have a definitive conclusion."
The company maintains, "Encana didn't put those components there, nature did. They're naturally occurring and you would expect to find them at that depth."
Senator Inhofe, ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said:
"EPA's conclusions are not based on sound science but rather on political science. Its findings are premature, given that the Agency has not gone through the necessary peer-review process, and there are still serious outstanding questions regarding EPA's data and methodology."
This is far from settled science, in other words. So why release only a draft? And why now?
But it is certainly useful in creating a public impression that development of energy resources is problematic. This CBS News report features fearful victims, whose water supply in "arid" Wyoming is threatened. Now there's an image to cause worry. It's the same purported threat to water supply that underlies the postponement of the Keystone pipeline project.
I expect to see more such operations, from government agencies, nonprofits, the tort bar, the education sector, and other members of the Democratic coalition, except of course for the private sector unions, who don 't really natter any more to the Democrats, now that government workers dominate the union movement.
The EPA has pulled this kind of stunt before, making a similar claim about fracking in Texas, later refuted.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky