“White House touts energy policies as rules loom” – Associated Press, 30 May 2014

With continued backlash, President Obama is still trying to sell the US on his new energy policy and attempting to showcase the regulations as economically advantageous through job creation, cleaner energy sources, and protection of the US against foreign turmoil. In a 42-page report to be released on Thursday, the White House contends that the US’s natural gas boon is both economically and environmentally beneficial.

The report’s purpose is to counteract the disapproval of the EPA‘s new regulations on coal-fired power plants, which many expect will inflate electricity costs, thwart job growth, and impede economic prosperity. Conservatives and their allies believe that reducing emissions won’t actually aid the environment, and only become a hinderance to the economy.

The White House reports argues that increased domestic energy production, wind and solar power, and decreased dependency on oil have largely bolstered the security of US energy and the economy, and speak directly to the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

The US’s upswing in natural gas safeguards the economy, and everyone’s pockets, if oil-producing countries undergo turmoil and cause oil prices to skyrocket. If we continue to produce energy sources domestically, then the US reaps the benefits—that means more money and more jobs.

Regardless, the US is still the number one consumer and importer of oil. The advent of natural gas hasn’t been embraced by everyone—the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock presents some unease with many environmental groups. The decline in oil consumption started in 2006, though that fall is ascribed to the recession. At the same time, natural gas consumption has increased by 18% since 2005.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 30, 2014

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“Four Colorado Towns Vote on Fracking Ban” – Wall Street Journal, 4 November 2013

Earlier this month, voters in the Colorado towns of Broomfield, Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette passed fracking bans. Broomfield, Boulder and Fort Collins will vote on moratoriums — Lafayette will vote on a permanent ban. While fracking has benefited the US economy and energy industry, many are against the technique, saying that it causes earthquakes, water contamination and air pollution.

Since no new technology is 100% safe, the town has to chosen the most optimal solution, based upon imperfect and changing best-known and unknown opinions and information. In democratic societies like ours, these debates are healthy, as they bring the best cost-effective, implementable solutions with long term staying power — inclusive of all stake holders.

The ban on fracking in these towns comes as a shock to the energy industry, as Colorado is a huge producer of both oil and gas: it is the ninth-biggest oil-producing state and sixth-biggest gas-producing state. Broomfield sits on the edge of the Niobrara Shale, a rock formation that has the ability to generate large amounts of oil and gas. Colorado currently has 100 oil rigs in use, which produce 267,000 barrels of oil and 4.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) approximates that the state holds at least two billion barrels of oil in reserves.

The Broomfield decision is being carefully watched by the oil, gas, coal and the entire renewable and non-renewable energy industry, as well as pro- and anti-fracking groups — the town is greatly indicative of statewide, and maybe even nationwide, voting and public opinion trends.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

November 20, 2013

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