Erika Johnsen

If 'investing' Americans' tax dollars for them into new green energy projects, and then watching these 'companies of the future' tank and distort all kinds of market signals along with them, is really all that constitutes the backbone of the Obama administration's energy policy, we've got problems. It seems that his administration is unilaterally opposed to expanding any source of domestic energy that involves any sort of drilling, despite the many jobs these projects would actually create and how well they would fit into our existing infrastructure. The White House needs to stop acting like a venture capitalist and quit blocking Americans' efforts to supply their own energy. It is painfully ineffectual.

The opposing uproar to all-things-drilling usually comes from the weak, trumped-up, politicized arguments of environmentalists. The White House's recent Keystone XL non-decision, to basically delay a final answer on the project in order to address ostensible environmental concerns until after the 2012 election, was made to avoid rousing the greenies' ire. How, exactly, did environmentalists get so much political clout? The Obama administration might think it's a good strategy to give in to their whims now, but if this keeps up, come election time, I think all of the jobless Americans will have a much more resounding voice.

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." ...

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.

"The President’s plan is to simply say ‘no’ to new energy production," House Natural Resources Committee chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash, said to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a hearing pertaining to hydraulic fracturing. "It’s a plan that is sending American jobs overseas, forfeiting new revenue, and denying access to American energy that would lessen our dependence on hostile Middle Eastern oil."

Salazar denied that suggestion, noting the sales of mineral leases over the last two years, but he also affirmed environmentalist concerns. "The increasing use of hydraulic fracturing has raised a number of concerns about the potential impacts on water quality and availability, particularly with respect to the chemical composition of fracturing fluids and the methods used."

Exit question: what do environmentalists really have against fracking?


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.