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Green Activists Isolated As Obama Backs Fracking

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.

State Impact News, 17 July 2012