Opinion

Assault against natural gas may be next

An editorial from The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginians already have seen what irrational liberals in Washington can do to the coal industry. With their successes in the war against coal and affordable electricity, they may be ready to move on – with an assault against natural gas.

Perhaps the success story in the entire world during the past several years has been America’s energy resurgence. New technology has allowed us to recover petroleum and gas once thought unreachable.

That energy revolution is linked strongly to President Barack Obama’s assault on the coal industry. It is not too much to say that Obama could not have gotten away with using the Environmental Protection Agency as a club against coal without the gas drilling boom.

Obama insists, in effect, the United States does not need coal-fired power plants. “Alternative” energy will do it all, he assures us.

But it will not. Despite throwing away billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies for solar and wind power, the White House has been unable to make anyone believe those sources will answer the nation’s needs.

But gas can be used to generate electricity, though at a substantially higher cost than for coal-fired power plants. That is one reason few utilities have complained about the war on coal. They can build new gas-fired power plants to replace the hundreds of coal units already shut down or scheduled to close.

But some Democrats in Congress, encouraged by radical environmentalists who would do away with all fossil fuels if they could, have other ideas.

They are discussing ways to crack down on the gas and oil drilling industry -which incorrectly has come to be described with one word, “fracking.” That is short for hydraulic fracturing, the technology used to get at oil and gas once locked in rock formations.

Any anti-gas strategy resting on accusations fracking is a major threat to water supplies was crippled earlier this month when the EPA itself concluded such is not the case. Rest assured, the enemies of fossil fuels will find other complaints.

Of course, the drilling industry needs to be regulated to minimize damage to the environment. But that is not what the radicals have in mind. They want to make oil and gas recovery prohibitively expensive.

And they have an ally in the White House – one who, as we have seen, does not even want Americans to benefit from oil produced in Canada and transported here by pipeline.

As demonstrated by Republican victories in congressional elections last fall, Americans are starting to awake to the peril of an energy policy focused on denying us access to coal, oil and gas. The question now is whether conservatives will act quickly and decisively on the issue.

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