After what will most likely be a disastrous decision to "delay" a ruling on the Keystone XL Pipeline -- Obama's will probably try to kill the pipeline outright -- now Obama's EPA is trying to block the domestic production of oil from oil shale:
The latest salvo in the administration's war on energy may be new rules and permits to regulate a process to get oil and gas from porous rock, sacrificing jobs and economic growth while under review.Typical of the Obama administration. Dominated by luddites, it would seem.
There are a few areas of the U.S. that are booming. Two of these are in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, states that sit atop two massive shale rock formations, the Bakken and the Marcellus.
Extraction of oil and natural gas from these formations have created jobs and economic growth in the midst of a stagnant and parched economy.
The oil and gas is extracted from this porous rock by a process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
The process involves the injection under high pressure of fluids, mainly water with a few chemical additives, to fracture the porous shale rock and allow the release and extraction of the oil and gas trapped inside the porous rock. Environmentalists contend these chemical additives contaminate groundwater supplies.
The fluid used in the process is 99.5% sand and water. There are other chemicals ranging from the citric acid found in soda to benzene, which are used to reduce friction and fight microbes.
Shale formations in which fracking is used are thousands of feet deep. Drinking water aquifers are generally only a hundred feet deep. There's solid rock between them.
Yet the Environmental Protection Agency, bowing to environmentalists' pressure and faithful to the administration mantra that fossil fuels are harmful and obsolete, is preparing to nip this economic boom in the bud by regulating it to death.
In January, state regulators in places like North Dakota and Pennsylvania must write new rules for hydraulic fracturing and the fluids used in the process.These rules are to be based on an EPA guidance document that is under review by the Office of Management and Budget. The document will tell states how to comply with and issue permits in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Keep in mind that even EPA director Lisa Jackson could provide no evidence of groundwater contamination due to fracking. She recently recently told a House Oversight Committee hearing that, despite anecdotal evidence, "I'm not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water."
"This 60-year-old technique has been responsible for 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas," according to Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "In hydraulic fracturing's 60-year-history, there has not been a single documented case of contamination."
Every single well in the Bakken and other formations is fracture-treated. Lynn Helms, North Dakota's director of the Department of Mineral Resources, sees this as a ruse to stop "fracking" altogether. He says it will take at least until January 2013 to write the rules which must be reviewed and approved.
While this is under way, Helms believes the EPA will impose a moratorium on drilling using hydraulic fracturing in the name of protecting the environment.
The Gulf Coast energy industry has never fully recovered from a similar moratorium and a new glacial permitting process.Indeed. So why is the GOP-controlled House doing nothing -- nothing -- about the EPA?
Similarly, the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline project to bring Canadian tar sands oil to American refineries is stalled on environmental grounds.
In short, the administration's war on American energy is real — and about to get worse.