Is Shale Gas an Ideal Bridge to Renewable Energy Sources?
With the battle lines drawn and the sides already chosen, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is set to get the fossil fuel vote. But would there be a marked shift in how he would use the regulatory levers and if so, what would that be?
A major question is over how shale gas is extracted. Estimates are that there a century’s worth of those reserves here. Indeed, bothPresident Obama and Governor Romney understand the potential but they are diverging over how the drilling process would be monitored. The current White House says that such unconventional natural gas is such a game-changer and that it requires more federal oversight while a Romney presidency would continue to let the states supervise the development of gas drilling.
“While fracking requires regulation just like any other energy-extraction practice, the EPA in a Romney administration will not pursue overly aggressive interventions designed to discourage fracking altogether,” saysRomney’s position paper. “States have carefully and effectively regulated the process for decades, and the recent industry agreement to disclose the composition of chemicals used in the fracking process is another welcome step in the right direction.”
That position is supported strongly by the natural gas industry, which says that such regulations should remain at the state level. It adds that the country’s geography varies from region-to-region and that a one-size-fits-all approach is not just impractical but also duplicative and expensive.