Pres. Obama covered a lot of ground Tuesday in his long-awaited speech on climate change.
His proposals for fighting global warming without congressional help didn’t go as far as many of his supporters might have liked. Frankly, they didn’t go as far as programs California already has in place. But at this point, environmentalists will take whatever federal climate change action they can get. They certainly liked his comments on the Keystone XL pipeline.
But the speech was also notable for something Obama didn’t say.
He never uttered the word “fracking.” And yet, Obama left little doubt about what he thinks of the current natural gas production boom that fracking has created.
He loves it.
Here’s the transcript, courtesy of our friends at Bloomberg:
Now, even as we’re producing more domestic oil, we’re also producing more cleaner-burning natural gas than any other country on Earth. And, again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but let me say this: 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.
Federally supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas. And now, we’ll keep working with the industry to make drilling safer and cleaner, to make sure that we’re not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work modernizing our natural gas infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy.
The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs. It’s lowering many families’ heat and power bills. And it’s the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the technology required for the even cleaner energy economy of the future.
Many environmental groups cranking out press statements in support of Obama’s plan on Tuesday glossed over that little passage. But not everyone was so kind.
“For all the correct emphasis on the dangers of climate change, the plan is: frack now, frack here and frack all over the world,” said Josh Fox, director of the two Gasland documentary films about fracking. “Fracked gas isn’t a bridge fuel — it’s a gangplank.”
Whether you’re a fracking fan or foe, Obama’s speech on Tuesday gave the clearest indication yet of the role he envisions for domestic natural gas. In his plan, gas is the fossil fuel that will help wean us off of fossil fuels, keeping carbon emissions and energy prices down during the transition to cleaner technologies.
And he wants more of it.