President Obama says Americans “should welcome” the shale drilling boom that has lead to increased domestic oil and gas production, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Democrat’s caveat — he supports drilling as long as it’s done “safely and in a way that’s environmentally sound.”
The President made the drilling comments in Cincinnati yesterday, answering an audience member’s question about hydraulic fracturing:
“Natural gas actually burns cleaner than some other fossil fuels,” the Democratic incumbent said in reply to an audience question. “It’s an ideal energy source that we potentially could use for the next 100 years.
“So I want to encourage natural gas production. The key is to make sure that we do it safely and in a way that is environmentally sound.”
The practice popularly called “fracking,” regionally concentrated so far in eastern Ohio and neighboring Pennsylvania, involves ground injections of chemically treated fluids at high pressure to fracture shale deposits and free oil and natural gas trapped inside.
“There are a lot of folks right now who are engaging in hydraulic fracturing who are doing it safely,” Mr. Obama said. “The problem is that we haven’t established clear guidelines of how to do it safely and to inform the public, so that neighbors know what’s going on. … Look, we are going to work with industry to establish best practices. We are going to invest in the basic research and science to make sure this is done safely and in a way that protects the public health.