Obama and EPA Keep Oil Exploration Sector on Guard
Oil exploration technology, particularly fracking, has been opposed by some sectors due to the suspected health and environmental hazards tied to it. For others, it’s a boon to the U.S. oil and gas sector.
Industry heads remain on guard as news about the Environmental Protection Agency’s much-awaited draft report on fracking and its possible repercussions has made the sector quite worried.
While it is true that the final EPA report will not be completed for another two years, the initial draft would provide hints on the current Administration’s plans for the industry.
Republicans and groups comprising the oil and gas sector are anxious that the EPA report will provide strong justification for tougher fracking rules which environmental groups have been pushing for since Obama first took office three years ago.
Industry heads, however, have also been more vocal about the value of fracking to the U.S. economy, stressing that it brings in much-needed oil investments, jobs, and revenues. Eventually, it will help prevent the country from going over the “fiscal cliff.”
President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, Karen A. Harbert, and other groups have said that they are hoping the President will look at fracking from an economic standpoint, citing Obama’s support for increased oil exploration and drilling, which he himself conveyed during his campaign speeches.
From a political standpoint, increased oil exploration must be supported as it will boost U.S. energy independence. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that, come 2030, the country will take the place of Saudi Arabia as the leading global oil supplier.
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said it’s impossible to encourage investing in oil and gas and support its development without supporting hydraulic fracturing.
While the Obama administration appears to be in a pensive mood, U.S. states like North Carolina have expressed their intentions to immerse themselves in the fracking and oil drilling business. North Dakota and Pennsylvania, meanwhile, continue to be a haven for oil drillers.
New York, on the other hand still tends to be evasive about the issue.
Manhattan Institute energy scholar Robert Bryce said that, apparently, the EPA is going to implement additional fracking policies on a national level. He added, however, that these will not impede the booming oil fracking and drilling industry.
It would be very irrational, he said, for government to even attempt to stop fracking activities.