Obama Puts Another Energy Project on Hold

Earlier this month, Obama sold out the country’s energy needs for purely political reasons when he decided to indefinitely delay the crucial Keystone Pipeline project.  The main effect of this political game will be higher energy prices and fewer jobs in America…while more are created in Asia.  Today he announced another big energy project, this one right here in Ohio, would be put on hold to give his administration time to “study” the project further. Via the Washington Examiner:

President Obama’s United States Department of Agriculture has delayed shale gas drilling in Ohio for up to six months by cancelling a mineral lease auction for Wayne National Forest (WNF). The move was taken in deference to environmentalists, on the pretext of studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing.

“Conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest Plan was developed,” announced WNF Supervisor Anne Carey on Tuesday. “The technology used in the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations need to be studied to see if potential effects to the surface are significantly different than those identified in the Forest Plan.” The study will take up to six months to complete. The WNF study reportedly “will focus solely on how it could affect forest land,” despite the significance of hydraulic fracturing to united proponents of the delay, “and not how it could affect groundwater.”

Speaking of the WNF gas drilling, one environmentalist group spokesman suggested that moving forward with drilling “could turn the Ohio Valley into Ozone Alley,”  even though Wayne National Forest already has nearly 1300 oil and gas wells in operation which this study does not affect.

By “studying” the issue, Obama no doubt means he needs more time to figure out how to scuttle it entirely.  Does anyone believe Obama will allow the project to go forward in 6 months?  Or 6 years if his fellow travelers on the far left have anything to say about it?  I’m skeptical.  If allowed to proceed, the project is expected to create in the neighborhood of 200,000 jobs in Ohio between now and 2015, along with all of the ancillary benefits such an increase in economic activity entails:

The Utica projections focus on five specific economic elements — jobs, personal income, royalties, tax revenues and gross state product (GSP) — from 2011 until 2015. According to the study, Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry could help create and support more than 200,000 Ohio-based jobs from the leasing, royalties, exploration, drilling, production and pipeline construction activities for the Utica shale reserve. The state could experience an overall wage and personal-income boost of $12 billion by 2015 from industry spending.

The study also projects royalty payments to landowners, schools, businesses and communities could increase to as much as $1.6 billion by 2015 — a number that exceeds the total amount of royalties distributed by Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry in the last decade.

Total tax revenue from oil and gas exploration and development in the Utica shale formation from 2011 until 2015, including severance, commercial activity, ad valorem (property), federal, state and local taxes, is projected to be approximately $479 billion. Industry expenditures related to Utica shale development could generate approximately $12.3 billion in gross state product and result in a statewide output or sales of more than $23 billion.

Ohio has been particularly hard hit by the Obama economy, and it’s impossible to overestimate the enormous shot in the arm this project would provide.  Developing the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations in eastern Ohio represent a real opportunity for the state to get back on its feet.  And let’s not forget the fact that America desperately needs domestic, proven sources of energy. Now. Yet Obama, through his Departments of Energy and Interior, is determined to prevent Americans from producing it.

Under Obama, both departments should be combined and the new entity should be named the Department of Energy Prevention.  The last thing we need is more delays in real energy production while Obama chases solar shingle fantasies by enriching his campaign donors at Solyndra and elsewhere.


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