Tags: Democrats | Obama | Shale | Oil

Wash. Post: Democrats Should Follow Obama's Lead on Shale Oil

Sunday, 17 Feb 2013 07:39 PM

By Michael Kling

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Democrats should follow President Obama's lead and embrace the shale oil boom, argues The Washington Post.

Praising the natural gas boom in his State of the Union address, Obama said his administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Democrats in Maryland and elsewhere should listen, asserts the Post's editorial board.

While the president is moving ahead, other Democrats are standing still.

Video: Economist Predicts 'Unthinkable' for 2013 

Cuomo's administration recently said it will miss another deadline for creating new fracking rules. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley stopped issuing new drilling permits to wait for an environmental study, and now says the state may need more studies even after that study, due by August 2014, is completed.

"The president’s approach is better," the Post argues. "While praising the energy boom for all its benefits, he has also concluded that reasonable new regulations could make extracting gas much cleaner, and his administration has gone about writing them."

For instance, new EPA rules require drillers to prevent pollution from escaping into the air.

The Post counted the benefits of natural gas. It's cleaner than coal, producing less carbon dioxide and none of coal's toxic chemicals. And the U.S., sitting on top of large gas reserves, has plenty it. The gas boom has helped send energy prices down and transform the U.S. from a gas importer to potential exporter.

Natural gas is not a panacea, the Post concedes. Fracking, which involves injecting water mixed with chemicals, has stirred environmental opposition. And natural gas still produces some carbon dioxide, and cannot be used forever. "But gas can, for a time, serve as a low-cost alternative to dirtier fossil fuels in a program to steadily green the economy."

Cuomo said fracking is "too important to make a mistake" and that his administration will not be bound by arbitrary deadlines, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
“I don’t think that’s prudent and I don’t think that’s right and I won’t do it,” he said, according to the newspaper.

New rules, he said will be based on facts, not emotion.

The Cuomo administration is considering allowing fracking on a limited basis in parts of upstate New York, an area that could use an economic boost. His administration delayed a decision about removing New York's fracking ban to give the state’s health commissioner more time to study fracking's potential health effects.

Video: Economist Predicts 'Unthinkable' for 2013 

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