NY gas-industry group touts Obama’s climate speech

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President Barack Obama’s speech on climate change Tuesday included what amounted to a prominent shout out to hydraulic fracturing for natural gas — without ever mentioning the much-debated technique by name.

In his remarks at Georgetown, Obama said natural gas is “creating jobs,” “lowering many families’ heat and power bills” and is an “effective transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution.”

“And, again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but let me say this,” Obama said. “We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.”

Unsurprisingly, Obama’s comments drew praise from the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, which has lobbied Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to allow high-volume fracking in the Marcellus Shale. (So far, that effort has been unsuccessful as the state Health and Environmental Conservation departments continue to review the technique.)

After the speech, IOGA Director Brad Gill issued this statement:

“The president and his administration have clearly concluded that safe, innovative, modern domestic energy production is in the best interest of the national economy and the environment, and that natural gas is the best option for transitioning to increased use of renewable energy sources. This is a message that many other states have heard. New York must finally accept the truth about modern, safe natural gas development: the challenges are manageable and the benefits are too great to ignore.”

Earthworks, a Washington D.C.-based environmental group, disagreed. In a statement, Executive Director Jennifer Krill said “increased natural gas and oil production is part of the climate change problem, not the solution.

From her statement:

“The President has an important choice to make. He can choose to ignore science — as climate change deniers still do — and support dirty fossil fuels like fracking-enabled oil and gas development, and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Or he can follow common sense, and his own scientists, and shift the resources and brainpower that have supported dirty energy to instead encourage the use of conservation and renewables.”

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8 Comments

  1. The environmentalists can also follow common sense and acknowledge we are a hydrocarbon-based society. We could carpet the planet with solar panels and blanket the mountains with windmills but that would still be insignificant against the amount of energy we consume and use every day.

  2. Ed,surprisingly to say here, but if Henry Ford thought that way, you wouldn’t own an automobile. Think outside the box, that’s what made America Great. Not fossil fuel multi-corporations who’s hold on everyone on the planet is getting tighter and tighter for their profits only.

  3. If only the gas industry told the truth, it would be a different story altogether. As it is, like the tobacco industry, they are telling lies and more lies. Gas drilling is unsafe at any speed and in any place. That Obama is touting gas drilling does not make gas drilling safe, economical, healthful or good. That Brad Gill agrees with Obama simply cements the obvious: the politicians and the gas industry are in bed together, at our expense. What’s new?

  4. Below is the message I’ve sent to the president via every quasi-environmental organizations site who is asking me to thank him.
    ———————————————————
    I will not thank President Obama for turning this country over to the oil and gas companies by endorsing unconventional shale oil and gas via the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), when there have been no independent, comprehensive public health and environmental studies completed, and peer reviewed. He seems to be unaware, or perhaps refuses to acknowledge that the methane emitted from unconventional shale gas extraction is highly radioactive, and is 120 times a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 over a twenty year period, and will consume, not just use like agriculture and recreation, trillions of gallons of our fresh drinking water.

    The American people are also well aware that as much as, if not more, 61% of this unconventional natural gas and oil is ear marked for export to China, India, Great Britain, Norway, and South America. These low paying, high risk, transient, shale field jobs are not what this country needs, or should be moving towards.

    If we are ever to become truly energy independent and seriously begin addressing climate change/global warning, then we need to divest from fossil fuels, and push towards developing clean, safe, sustainable renewable energy.

    I am a democrat, I supported and voted for President Obama, and I am sickened by his pandering to the oil and gas lobbyists who apparently are the ones running this country. If anything, President Obama owes the American people, our children, and all future generations an apology.

    This government needs to realize that in this country, we are “citizens” not “subjects”, and we are supposed to have a representative government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, just like it says in the US Constitution that President Obama vowed to uphold and protect, but has failed miserably to do.

  5. Hugh Kimball on

    It is too bad that Obama does not seem to understand that methane is a far stronger greenhouse gas that CO2 and that the leaks from pipelines, wells, and compressor stations are very significant.

  6. Interesting how the environmentalists turn against their lead advocate, the President, when he takes a rational approach to our energy needs. I wonder how loud they will holler and scream once King Andy approves HVHF in NY.

  7. Joanne Corey on

    I think President Obama should apply the same standard to unconventional fossil fuel extraction that he has stated he would on Keystone XL. If it exacerbates global warming, it must not be approved. It then becomes a matter of accurately assessing the lifecycle greenhouse gas footprint of unconventionally extracted oil, gas, and coal. If it is higher than conventional sources, then it should not be permitted.

  8. It?s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you?re talking about! Thanks