Obama Says Nation Should Welcome the Natural Gas Boom
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
President Barack Obama said at a campaign event Monday that the nation should "welcome" the natural gas exploration boom and hydraulic fracturing technology as part of the answer to making the United States less dependent on foreign oil.
"Natural gas actually burns cleaner than some other fossil fuels," the Democratic incumbent said in reply to an audience question. "It's an ideal energy source that we potentially could use for the next 100 years.
"So I want to encourage natural gas production. The key is to make sure that we do it safely and in a way that is environmentally sound."
The practice popularly called "fracking," regionally concentrated so far in eastern Ohio and neighboring Pennsylvania, involves ground injections of chemically treated fluids at high pressure to fracture shale deposits and free oil and natural gas trapped inside.
"There are a lot of folks right now who are engaging in hydraulic fracturing who are doing it safely," Mr. Obama said. "The problem is that we haven't established clear guidelines of how to do it safely and to inform the public, so that neighbors know what's going on. ... Look, we are going to work with industry to establish best practices. We are going to invest in the basic research and science to make sure this is done safely and in a way that protects the public health.
"For responsible companies, they should be able to operate and make a profit, and we will all benefit and put people back to work," he said. "But if it's an irresponsible company that's not doing the right thing, we're going to hold you to account.