Thursday, March 31, 2011

President Obama Calls for Expanded Drilling in the Marcellus Shale

President Obama gave yet another speech on energy independence yesterday (transcript here). The Lonely Conservative takes issue with his remarks saying that the plan is seated on selling the Chevy Volt, paying off political donors, and raising the cost of energy. She also notes that he mocks the millions of Americans (myself included) who call for increased domestic oil and natural gas production. On the whole it is hard to argue with the logic, but I would like to play devil's advocate for a moment.
Two parts of the speech jumped out at me. First he says the energy crisis can be solved by good old American ingenuity.
But our best opportunities to enhance our energy security can be found in our own backyard. And we boast one critical, renewable resource the rest of the world cannot match: American ingenuity.
In this regard, he is absolutely correct. When the shackles of government regulation are limited and americans are free to create and produce, we cannot be beat. Lately I have been highlighting the benefits of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale formation. For years this abundant supply of clean burning, energy efficient fuel has been off limits because of technological limitations, but over the past few years this technology has been enhanced and improved. Hydraulic fracturing has opened a potential reserve of energy that could fuel the nation for a century or more and the president is right to highlight the creativity of America's best and brightest in providing for this resource.
The second portion of the speech I took note of is below.
In terms of new sources of energy, we have a few different options. The first is natural gas. As I mentioned earlier, recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves – perhaps a century’s worth – in the shale under our feet. Now, we have to make sure we’re doing it safely, without polluting our water supply. And that’s why I’m asking my Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, to work with other agencies, the natural gas industry, states, and environmental experts to improve the safety of this process. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he’s got a Nobel Prize for physics, after all. He likes to tinker on this stuff in his garage on the weekend.
But the potential here is enormous. It’s actually an area of broad bipartisan agreement. Last year, more than 150 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle proposed legislation providing incentives to use clean-burning natural gas in our vehicles instead of oil. They were even joined by T. Boone Pickens, a businessman who made his fortune on oil. So I ask them to keep at it and pass a bill that helps us achieve this goal.
When the president highlights T. Boone Pickens, you know he must be serious (snark). With this passage he is bucking the far left of his party. Understanding that drilling must take place in "shale" the president instead mocks the rhetoric of upstate class warriors invading town halls across upstate New York who are calling for a ban of the practice in its entirety. Refusing to acknowledge the safety record of natural gas drilling, their overblown rhetoric and intimidation tactics will fail, but the fight is on and the science is on our side. In this instance I am happy to find that President Obama is on my side, at least for now.

Unfortunately, we have heard all this before in previous speeches and his prior actions regarding US energy independence doesn't leave me with much hope that this speech will make a difference, but I tend toward optimism and "hope springs eternal".

In spite of what is being said, folks in favor of natural gas drilling don't want to kill babies, spoil fresh water aquifers or contaminate streams. It doesn't take much research to find this out, but it does take an inquiring mind.

On the economic front I offer a few links as to why this industry is a boon for the country.....

Huge economic impact in south Texas. Jobs paying $45,000-$90,000 dollars. For what it's worth, these are not outsourced, but are provided by the local communities.

Please bookmark!

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