By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh
It was Friday the 13. If you are superstitious, then the new Executive Order issued yesterday, “Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources” must give you pause.
The order states, “While natural gas production is carried out by private firms, and States are the primary regulators of onshore oil and gas activities, the Federal Government has an important role to play by regulating oil and gas activities on public and Indian trust lands, encouraging greater use of natural gas in transportation, supporting research and development aimed at improving the safety of natural gas development and transportation activities, and setting sensible, cost-effective public health and environmental standards to implement Federal law and augment State safeguards.”
Because natural gas produced 25 percent of our energy in 2011, the federal government must control this source of energy in order to deliver on the promise of making gasoline prices rise to $10 per gallon, bankrupt the coal industry, and cause energy prices to skyrocket.
An interagency working group is tasked to “facilitate coordinated Administration policy efforts to support safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development.” This working group bureaucracy will be chaired by the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and has several curious members that have no direct involvement with natural gas production:
- the Department of Defense
- the Department of the Interior
- the Department of Agriculture
- the Department of Commerce
- the Department of Health and Human Services
- the Department of Transportation
- the Department of Energy
- the Department of Homeland Security
- the Environmental Protection Agency
- the Council on Environmental Quality
- the Office of Science and Technology Policy
- the Office of Management and Budget
- the National Economic Council
The Chair may invite other agencies or offices to participate in the working group. The working group will “support [read control] the safe and responsible production of domestic unconventional natural gas by performing the following functions: coordinate agency policy activities, share scientific, environmental, technical and economic information, coordination with federal government in long-term planning, and “consult with other agencies as appropriate.”
The White House Blog explains this new bureaucracy as a step in eliminating “redundancy.” What is there redundant about each state controlling and exploring their natural gas? The federal government is concerned, since natural gas volumetric exploration in 2011 was so large, it eclipsed the all-time high production record of 1973, it must “ensure that we can successfully tap this critical resource for decades to come, we must develop it safely and responsibly.” Translation, we must control it and reduce its production so that our air and water are safe according to the EPA dictates. This is interesting because natural gas is one of the cleanest sources of energy.
The White House Blog continues, “At the same time, as the administration develops a framework for safe and responsible production that builds on steps already taken by states across the country, we must ensure that those efforts continue to happen in a coordinated way.”
There we have it; we cannot let states continue business as usual. We must interfere and impose federal power and control over the states. We cannot let cheap natural gas interfere with our plan for expensive alternative sources of energy. Fossil fuels and fracking are tampering with our power grab plans.