The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday unveiled its first-ever regulations to curb air pollution from hydraulic fracturing, the drilling process commonly known as "fracking" — or in the industry's parlance, "fracing." By 2015, natural-gas and oil drillers will be forced to invest in new equipment that curtails smog-forming emissions from fracing wells.
On Tuesday the President targeted speculators for driving up the price of oil and recommended additional oversight on the oil markets manned by an increased number of regulators to be paid for with additional government funding of $52 million. His new strategy, outlined in the Rose Garden, is “to stop spikes in gas prices that we’ve put up with every single year — the same kind of increase that we’ve seen over the past couple of months.” He explained:
President Obama drew praise from the energy industry on Friday after issuing an executive order to amend federal oversight procedures of hydraulic fracturing — commonly known as "fracking" — which injects water, sand, and chemicals deep underground to release vast quantities of fuel. The order creates an "interagency working group" that directs 12 federal agencies to collaborate in bolstering "safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development."
Beacon Power, the beneficiary of the endless flow of taxpayer guarantees emanating from the Department of Energy, went into bankruptcy in just over two years, leaving lawyers from the Justice Department crying foul.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is claiming that scientific evidence for climate change is as convincing as ever — a comment that arrives just as controversies surrounding the renewable energy industry and new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules face staunch opposition from Republicans and industry groups.
Solar Trust of America, an energy firm based in Oakland, California, declared bankruptcy on April 2, fewer than 10 months after breaking ground on a project near Blythe, California, that was to be the world’s largest solar power energy project built on public lands. In its bankruptcy filing, the company claims to have assets of up to $10 million. Those assets, however, are dubious, consisting primarily of the Blythe project and another project in Riverside County, California, neither of which has gotten off the ground. Meanwhile, its liabilities may run as high as $100 million.
As the issue of rising gas prices dominates Obama’s current standing among the public, the White House is scrambling to broadcast the President’s purported dedication to U.S. energy independence. And one strategy the administration is engaging in is to accuse congressional Republicans of stonewalling executive efforts to improve the country’s energy and environmental stature.
In a 51-47 vote, the U.S. Senate nixed a Democratic proposal to confiscate billions of dollars in tax breaks from some of the largest oil companies. Sixty votes were needed to push through Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) bill, which would have stripped billions in tax deductions from the "big five" oil companies, which includes BP, Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.
Remember $1.83 per gallon gasoline? Seems like a very distant memory? That was the national average price we paid for the precious liquid when President Obama took over the White House in January 2009.