President Obama’s newfound interest in expanded natural gas drilling yesterday surprised many on all sides of the drilling debate, from environmentalists to drillers and even the coal industry.
Representatives of drilling groups said they had no idea that Obama would make natural gas his lead olive branch to the newly empowered Capitol Hill Republicans. But they were pleased that he did.
“We’ve got, I think, broad agreement that we’ve got terrific natural gas resources in this country,” Obama said when he was pressed for issues on which he could compromise with Republican leaders. “Are we doing everything we can to develop those?”
Tucker said Obama’s remarks were in line with the actions of some of his Cabinet departments. “The president’s remarks yesterday fit perfectly with a State Department that is actively looking to export the shale revolution globally, an Energy Department that views shale as a fuel with enormous potential for our future and an EPA that has consistently stated that the technology needed to produce shale gas is safe,” Tucker said.
It remains a mystery to key players how the Obama administration’s general interest in shale gas drilling rose to become a talking point at a presidential news conference at a crucial juncture in Obama’s presidency.