As I wrote back in 2009, the Obama administration’s entire energy policy can be summarized as one of energy strangulation. And the strangle-hold continues: hot on the heels of the administration’s decision to study the Keystone pipeline to death, comes a pre-Thanksgiving decision by the USDA to study the natural gas revolution in the hope that it’ll pass out before the next election. As the Washington Examiner reports,
President Obama’s United States Department of Agriculture has delayed shale gas drilling in Ohio for up to six months by cancelling a mineral lease auction for Wayne National Forest (WNF). The move was taken in deference to environmentalists, on the pretext of studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing. “Conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest Plan was developed,” announced WNF Supervisor Anne Carey on Tuesday. “The technology used in the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations need to be studied to see if potential effects to the surface are significantly different than those identified in the Forest Plan.” The study will take up to six months to complete. The WNF study reportedly “will focus solely on how it could affect forest land,” despite the significance of hydraulic fracturing to united proponents of the delay, “and not how it could affect groundwater.”
Well, there’s no doubting that conditions have changed in the last few years: the administration’s popularity has been plummeting, and they are now concerned that they’ll lose their election if they can’t keep their environmentalists aboard. And environmentalists have declared open warfare on fossil-fuel energy, mounting fights to virtually all fossil-fuel production, whether it is conventional or non-conventional, on-shore or offshore, or even piped down from Canada.
Anybody want to bet that this “6 month” study takes at least a year? By the way, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) recently estimated that drilling in the Utica shale, which is affected by the suspension of the mineral lease auctions, would produce up 204,500 jobs by 2015.