Energy Policy A Focus at SOTU

If you weren’t aware, President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech last night. You can read a transcript of his speech here, and a response from Mitch Daniels (the Republican Governor of Indiana) here. Here is a sampling:

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.  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 sixteen years.

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 – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

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.

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.  And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of thirty 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.

While there were many things to dislike in the speech (regarding energy), it did seem to provide support for hydraulic fracturing, but also called for increased government oversight of the fracking process (rather than leaving this to the states), which surely won’t help keep the gas coming. As we’ve seen with drilling for oil, the government can stall for as long as it wants on permitting for sensible projects (or even reject them, in the case of the Keystone pipeline). States, whose interests are more suspect to the economic needs of its citizens rather than a large federal government focused on re-election, will surely provide a more sensible balance between energy development and environmental protection.




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