President Obama has quietly allowed hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and gas to proceed apace, reports Bloomberg’s Jim Snyder, creating economic growth in key states heading into November’s election.In a special Bloomberg publication released during the conventions, Snyder writes that while Obama has turned the opening of renewable energy plants into high-profile events, he has purposefully not joined the anti-fracking movement emanating from the left.
The EPA delayed new air emissions standards for natural gas operations by two years, drawing rare applause from the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington-based industry group whose members include Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips in Houston.
In January, the president promoted natural-gas development in his State of the Union address, saying it could support 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.
In the Ohio portion of the hydrocarbon-rich Marcellus shale formation, jobs are finally coming back to a region recently in the throes of postindustrial decay.
“You’re seeing more optimism than we’ve seen here in a long, long time,” said Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents the Youngstown area.
“Right now there is a tidal wave of support behind the natural gas industry.” As many as 40 per cent of Local 396 of Ohio’s pipe-fitters’ union members were out of work in the depths of the recession three years ago. Roland “Butch” Taylor, business manager of the union, said factory expansions and new construction now have all 700 of its members working.
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