President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hotly debated energy independence and drilling for oil in North America during the town hall style Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y. Continue reading
States hoping to capitalize on their energy booms are running into resistance from local officials who want to be able to police the noise and industrialization that accompany oil-and-gas drilling. Continue reading
VARNEY: Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Tim Murphy with me now.
Congressman, you heard what the president’s got to say, that we’re producing more oil now than we have in at any time in the last eight years and he wants to expand domestic production even more. Are you buying that? Continue reading
Austin: A University of Texas study says there’s no direct link between groundwater contamination and a controversial process to extract oil and gas known as fracking. Continue reading
By Brian A. Shactman, CNBC.com
Louisiana’s current 3rd Congressional District is home to 27,954 direct maritime industrial jobs that support thousands of additional workers both directly and indirectly. Continue reading
By NICOLAS LORIS
For all of President Obama’s talk Tuesday night of boosting US energy production, he has a huge problem: The American left — a vital part of his political base — seems determined to force us down the opposite path. Indeed, the “Big Green Extreme” fights energy even when it means harming the environment. Continue reading
At the NBC News/Facebook debate in Concord, NH Newt slams the EPA for its radical and anti-business regulations citing the EPA’s crazy comments on farm dust and dust in the desert. Its too bad we can’t have a debate that’s all about the EPA and its giving away taxpayer money to push the administration’s leftist radical agenda. See the additional reading below this post at our site for many examples of EPA tyranny.
By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is banning new hard rock mining on more than a million acres near the Grand Canyon, an area known to be rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves.
The decision, announced Monday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, hands a victory to environmental groups and some Democratic lawmakers who had worked for years to limit mining near the national park, one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations.
“When families travel to see the Grand Canyon, they have a right to expect that the only glow they will see will come from the sun setting over the rim of this natural wonder, and not from the radioactive contamination that comes from uranium mining,” said Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, the senior Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.
But congressional Republicans and industry groups opposed it, arguing that Salazar was eliminating hundreds of jobs and depriving the country of a critically important energy source. The area near the Grand Canyon contains as much as 40 percent of the nation’s known uranium resources, worth tens of billions of dollars.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the ban a “devastating blow to job creation in northern Arizona.”
McCain said the ban was “fueled by an emotional public relations campaign pitting the public’s love for the Grand Canyon against a modern form of low-impact mining that occurs many miles from the canyon walls.”
During a speech at the National Geographic Society, Salazar said he was “at peace” with the decision, one of the most high-profile actions of his three-year tenure at Interior. Salazar twice had imposed temporary bans on mining claims.
“A withdrawal is the right approach for this priceless American landscape,” Salazar said. “People from all over the country and around the world come to visit the Grand Canyon. Numerous American Indian tribes regard this magnificent icon as a sacred place, and millions of people in the Colorado River Basin depend on the river for drinking water (and) irrigation.”
The decision imposes a 20-year ban on new mining claims on federal land near the Grand Canyon. About 3,000 mining claims already staked in the area will not be affected, although officials expect fewer than a dozen mines to be developed under existing claims.
While uranium remains an important part of a comprehensive energy strategy, Salazar said, the Grand Canyon is a national treasure that must be protected. Salazar called the ban “a responsible path that makes sense for this and future generations.”
Uranium is used in nuclear power plants, which supplies about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.
The national park attracts more than 4 million visitors a year and generates an estimated $3.5 billion in economic activity. About 26 million Americans in four states, including the cities of Phoenix and Los Angeles, rely on the Colorado River for clean drinking water.
Conservation groups called the 20-year ban a crucial protection for an American icon. Uranium reserves near the Grand Canyon pose a real and present threat to Grand Canyon National Park and its water supply, said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director at the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity.
McKinnon and other environmentalists disputed claims by the mining industry and some Republican members of Congress that the ban would hurt the state’s economy and the nation’s energy independence.
“The real economic engine in northern Arizona is not uranium mining. It’s tourism,” McKinnon said. “To jeopardize our economic engine with more toxic uranium mining is unacceptable.”
GOP lawmakers lambasted the ban, calling it an overreach that jeopardizes jobs for no proven reason. They cited a study showing that even a severe mining accident would increase uranium levels in the Colorado River by an amount undetectable over levels normally carried by the river from erosion of geologic deposits.
“It is unconscionable that the administration has yet again caved to political pressure from radical special interest groups rather than standing up for the American people,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah. “Banning access to the most uranium-rich land in the United States will be overwhelmingly detrimental to both jobs in Utah and Arizona and our nation’s domestic energy security.”
Using modern techniques, mining does not affect drinking water from the Colorado River, McCain said.
The Bureau of Land Management said the 20-year ban on new mining claims would reduce overall uranium production by about 6 percent of current U.S. demand.
State, local and federal governments are expected to lose an estimated $16.6 million in annual tax revenue, and 465 jobs would not materialize.
The Bush administration had opened up land near the canyon to new mining claims. Salazar reversed the Bush policy in 2009 and called for a two-year moratorium on new mining claims around the canyon. He followed up with a six-month extension last year.
Supporters of the ban say any increase in mining jobs is not worth risks to the Colorado River, lands considered sacred by American Indian tribes or wildlife habitat. A mining mishap also could be disastrous for tourism.
Associated Press writer Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Ariz., contributed to this report.
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Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Joe Carroll, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Asian and European energy producers are spending billions of dollars to amass stakes in oil and natural-gas discoveries from Ohio to British Columbia even as earthquakes and tainted water threaten to stall the biggest drilling boom in at least two decades.
Total SA, Europe’s third-largest oil company, and China Petrochemical Corp., that nation’s second-biggest crude producer, committed $7 billion to U.S. and Canadian shale rock formations during the past two weeks. The investments are aimed at tapping the expertise of smaller explorers including Devon Energy Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. that pioneered techniques employed to crack previously impervious shale.
The potential rewards from shale regions such as the Utica and Marcellus formations in the eastern U.S. are too big for overseas explorers to ignore, said Mark Hanson, an analyst at Morningstar LLC in Chicago. A New Year’s Eve earthquake in Youngstown, Ohio, linked to a well used to store drilling wastewater prompted the state to halt operations at five such wells. Separately, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is studying whether intensive shale-drilling practices pose a danger to drinking water.
“These shale prospects are exploration frontiers and the big international players see them as a runway to growth,” Hanson said yesterday in a telephone interview. “They are acquiring stakes not only to learn how to drill these kind of formations in other parts of the world, but to understand how to get their arms around prospects of this size.
Shale acquisitions helped push overseas offers for U.S. oil and gas fields to $51 billion last year, the most in at least 12 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Melbourne-based BHP Billiton Ltd. led purchases in 2011 with the $12.1 billion takeover of Petrohawk Energy Corp.
India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. and Apollo Global Management LLC were today named by people with knowledge of the matter as being among companies in talks to buy El Paso Corp.’s oil and gas exploration and production unit. The unit, whose assets include more than half a million acres of shale fields, may be worth about $8.1 billion, analysts at BNP Paribas SA estimated in November.
El Paso owned drilling rights to 46,000 acres in Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale at the end of 2010, according to a regulatory filing, and 500,000 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin and other fields in Texas. It also has 605,000 acres in the Raton Basin coal-bed methane field in New Mexico and Colorado.
China Petrochemical, known as Sinopec Group, yesterday agreed to buy a one-third stake in five Devon exploratory oil projects in the U.S. for $900 million. The Beijing-based company also will provide as much as $1.6 billion to cover Devon’s future drilling costs, Oklahoma City-based Devon said in a statement.
The deal followed Sinopec Group’s C$2.2 billion ($2.16 billion) acquisition of Daylight Energy Ltd. on Dec. 23 to get access to the Calgary-based company’s gas and oil projects in western Canada.
Sinopec Group and domestic rivals China National Petroleum Corp. and Cnooc Ltd. are seeking to learn how to tap shale formations at home that the U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates may hold 1,275 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 12 times China’s so-called conventional deposits.
Total agreed to pay $2.32 billion yesterday for a 25 percent stake in 619,000 acres in a section of the Utica shale rich in butane and propane that sell at a premium to gas. Chesapeake will receive $2.03 billion and EnerVest Ltd. will get $290 million.
Total has been a partner with Chesapeake in another shale formation, the Barnett, near Fort Worth, Texas, since 2010. The company plans to transfer what it learns about cracking dense shale from Chesapeake’s experts to shale prospects in Africa, Latin America, Australia and Europe.
Drilling into shale rock to extract gas and crude has come under fire from federal regulators, state lawmakers and environmental groups concerned that the practice may contaminate drinking water. Shale rock was considered too hard to drill until the 1990s, when new methods for boring horizontal wells were combined with hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping millions of gallons of high-pressure water laced with chemicals and sand underground.
The number of rigs drilling horizontal wells in the U.S. surged 23 percent in 2011, reaching 1,184 on Dec. 16, the highest since at least January 1991, according to Baker Hughes Inc., an oilfield-services provider that tracks rig activity.
Last month, the EPA said for the first time that it found chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing in drinking water in Wyoming. Encana Corp., which operates 150 wells in the region of Wyoming where the EPA made its findings, said on Dec. 20 that the EPA failed to take into account naturally occurring chemicals and the possibility that the agency contaminated its own tests.
Total pursued shale opportunities outside France because of a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the company’s home country. Scott Hanold, a Minneapolis-based analyst for RBC Capital Markets, said the Dec. 31 quake in Ohio — the tenth in that region in a year — is unlikely to spur restrictions that may disrupt U.S. shale exploration.
“No one has made a concrete connection between earthquakes and drilling,” Hanold said in a telephone interview. “There’s not a lot of fear of regulation right now.”
–With assistance from Jim Polson, Benjamin Haas and Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York, Mike Lee in Dallas, Mark Niquette in Columbus and Andrew Hobbs in Sydney. Editors: Charles Siler, Ryan Woo
To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Ben Geman
When it comes to energy, Friday’s hopeful new data on job creation is prompting lawmakers and interest groups to call for . . . what they were calling for before the new report.
House Republican leaders greeted the hiring data with calls for the Senate to approve a suite of House-passed bills, including measures to require a major expansion of offshore oil-and-gas leasing and block several EPA regulations.
“President Obama owes it to every small business, and to the millions of Americans still looking for work, to urge Senate Democrats to take action on these common-sense jobs bills as soon as possible,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement following news that the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), author of the drilling bills, struck a similar note in touting the legislation Friday. “It is good news that more jobs were added to the economy last month, however millions of Americans remain unemployed and there is still much more that needs to be done to revive our sluggish economy,” he said in a statement.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) reiterated his call for federal approval of a major proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. “[N]o discussion of job-creation would be complete without acknowledging the tremendous jobs and energy security benefits that would come from approval and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” he said in a statement.
Elsewhere, the BlueGreen Alliance, which is a coalition of labor unions and environmentalists, called on Congress to “keep this momentum going” on jobs by bolstering federal support for green energy and passing a sweeping transportation bill.
Green energy advocates are seeking action to renew a stimulus-law grant program for renewable power projects, extension of clean energy tax credits and other policies.
“Winning economic strategies focused on the industries of the future and the $5 trillion clean-tech industry should be America’s focus in 2012. To do that, Congress must move forward with smart policies and strategic investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced vehicle technologies, the rebuilding of our transportation, energy and communications infrastructure, and the production of cleaner, safer chemicals,” said David Foster, the group’s executive director.
“One easy first step for Congress would be swift passage of a long-term reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act. Through action like this, we can recreate the millions of jobs lost in the Great Recession and set America on the path to economic prosperity in the 21st century global economy,” he said.
by The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Congress are starting the election year locked in a tussle over a proposed 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Texas that will force the White House to make a politically risky choice between two key Democratic constituencies.
Some unions say the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs. Environmentalists fear it could lead to an oil spill disaster.
A law Obama signed just before Christmas that temporarily extended the payroll tax cut included a Republican-written provision compelling him to make a speedy decision on whether to build the pipeline. The administration is warning it would rather say no than rush a decision in an election year.
It’s a dicey proposition for Obama, who enjoyed strong support from both organized labor and environmentalists in his winning 2008 campaign for the White House.
Environmental advocates, already disappointed with his failure to achieve climate change legislation and the administration’s decision to delay new smog standards, have made it clear that approval of the pipeline would dampen their enthusiasm for Obama in the upcoming November election.
Some liberal donors even threatened to cut off funds to Obama’s re-election campaign to protest the project, which opponents say would transport “dirty oil” that requires huge amounts of energy to extract.
If he rejects the pipeline, Obama risks losing support from organized labor, a key part of the Democratic base, for thwarting thousands of jobs.
Obama appeared to have skirted what some dubbed the “Keystone conundrum” in November when the State Department announced it was postponing a decision on the pipeline until after this year’s election. Officials said they needed extra time to study routes that avoid an environmentally sensitive area of Nebraska that supplies water to eight states.
The affected area stretches just 65 miles through the Sandhills region of northern Nebraska, but the concerns were serious enough that the state’s governor and senators opposed the project until the pipeline was moved.
Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, who opposed the initial route, says he supports efforts to accelerate the project, noting that provisions in the payroll tax bill allow the project developer to find a new route avoiding the Sandhills.
The new route would have to be approved by Nebraska environmental officials and the State Department, which has authority because the pipeline would cross an international border.
The pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Texas, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. The project’s developer, Calgary-based TransCanada, says the pipeline could create as many as 20,000 jobs, a figure opponents say is inflated. A State Department report last summer said the pipeline would create up to 6,000 jobs during construction.
The payroll tax cut law gives the Obama administration 60 days to decide whether to allow construction of the pipeline.
An “arbitrary deadline” for the permit decision would compromise the process, short-circuiting time needed to conduct required environmental reviews and preventing the issuance of a permit, the State Department warned in a written statement on Dec. 12. Obama administration officials confirmed that view after the payroll tax bill was approved.
Republicans call the threat little more than an excuse that allows Obama to placate environmental groups while not rejecting the pipeline outright.
“The only thing arbitrary about this decision is the decision by the president to say, ‘Well, let’s wait until after the next election,’ ” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Boehner and other Republicans say the pipeline would help Obama achieve his top priority — creating jobs — without costing a dime of taxpayer money. They hope to portray Obama’s reluctance to approve the pipeline as a sign he favors environmentalists over jobs.
Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive, said his company would do whatever is necessary to make sure the project is approved.
“We’ve had more than enough surprises on this,” said TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard.
In Nebraska, where the pipeline faces strong resistance, state officials are awaiting an environmental study that will determine a new route. Officials have said the review will take six to nine months.
Some landowners in the Sandhills celebrated the decision to reroute the project, but the pipeline’s strongest opponents say they still have concerns about the prospect of the government using its power of eminent domain to seize land, as well as liability issues in case of a spill.
“Republicans have bullied their way to get a reckless rider attached to a bill that was supposed to be about helping middle-class families,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of the group Bold Nebraska, which opposes the pipeline.
With the bill signed into law, Obama “must do the right thing for our land, water and families’ health by denying the pipeline permit,” Kleeb said.
Project supporters say U.S. rejection of the pipeline would not stop it from being built. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said TransCanada could pursue an alternative route through Canada to the West Coast, where oil could be shipped to China and other Asian markets.
“Canada is going to develop this no matter what, and that oil is either going to come to the United States or it’s going to go to a place like China. We want it here,” said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Opponents call the West Coast option farfetched, noting that Canadian regulators have announced a one-year delay for a similar project that would carry tar sands oil to British Columbia, on Canada’s western coast.
Native groups strongly oppose both the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by TransCanada rival Enbridge. Canada’s First Nations have constitutionally protected treaty rights and unsettled land claims that could allow them to block or significantly delay both pipelines.
Unions are watching closely. Unemployment in construction is far higher than other industries, with more than 1.1 million construction workers jobless, said Brent Bookers, director of construction at the Laborers’ International Union of North America.
“For many members of the Laborers, this project is not just a pipeline, it is a lifeline,” Bookers said, adding, “Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.”
Roger Toussaint, international vice president of the Transport Workers Union, opposes the pipeline.
“The dangers of the pipeline are compelling, and no one should believe the claims of either the Republican leadership or the energy companies, with respect to the project being shovel ready or with respect to the number of jobs it’s going to produce,” he said.
Associated Press writer Grant Schulte in Lincoln, Neb., contributed to this report.
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CASEY S. ELLIOTT, ATHENS MESSENGER
With oil and gas exploration in its initial stages in Southeast Ohio, Athens County institutions are considering curricular changes to meet a potential boom in demand for workers who specialize in those fields.
Hocking College, Tri-County Adult Career Center and Ohio University are all keeping tabs on the potential oil and gas boom in Southeast Ohio, and a Granville nonprofit is in the process of gathering information that could outline curricular changes for oil and gas professions at those — and many other — institutions statewide.
“We’re taking all the potential job positions we think will be able to be filled in the next three to five years, identifying exactly which institutions have what programs. And then from there, what we’re going to do is match those with certain industry standards,” said Rhonda Reda, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.
Established in 1998, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program is a nonprofit statewide organization and public outreach program. The nonprofit provides a variety of programs throughout the state, focusing on teacher workshops, scholarships, student education, firefighter training, industry workforce development, research, and landowner and guest speaker programs, according to its website.
Reda said the organization is looking at the overall production and development of the oil and gas industries in the state in an attempt to determine what certification and degree programs might be needed in these fields. She said the organization is not looking specifically at hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — jobs because those positions are generally filled by highly trained petroleum engineers and that instruction is obtained elsewhere.
“We’ve got great community colleges and technical schools around the state,” she said. “We want to, in a sense, partner with them, establish a curriculum that meets some of those industry standards, or help them adapt their systems already in place.”
Reda said there are an estimated 75 different types of professions involved in oil and gas well drilling and production.
Reda said the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program is working with several groups, including the Ohio Board of Regents, JobsOhio, OhioMeansJobs.com and community college and technical college representatives, to determine what types of instruction are needed and to identify programs in place across the state that may need to be updated. She said she expects the information gathering portion of the process to wrap up in January, and she hopes the curriculum to support this training can start being put in place by the end of 2012. Some professions that might be involved include pipeline welders, diesel mechanics and well tenders.
“(Well tenders) are folks that take care of the wells long after they’ve been drilled,” she said. “At the end of the day, most people don’t realize that the drilling is temporary. For long-term jobs, we have to have local people maintaining those wells, so we are putting a heavy emphasis on the production side.”
Reda said the average life of oil and gas wells is 20 to 40 years for each well, and Ohio currently has about 64,000 active wells. Reda said the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program is projecting another 2,800 wells will be drilled in the Utica shale region, which includes Athens County, within the next five years.
If the educational programs can be put in place quickly, it would fit the timeline of the oil and gas industry, which is in the leasing phase of its operations in this region, she said.
At the Tri-County Adult Career Center in Nelsonville, the potential job training is something staff has begun discussing, Director Kim McKinley said. She said staff at the career center have attended meetings with representatives of the oil and gas industry who have indicated training will be needed, but nothing specific about what is needed has been determined, yet.
“Once (the oil and gas industry) gets a pretty good picture as to what’s available in post-secondary training providers in the region, they’ll let us know how we need to specialize or customize what we offer to meet their industry needs. Then when there are training gaps, we will create programs for it,” she said. “We’re listening, we’re participating, we want to be ready. We want to be able to satisfy the need and ramp the workforce up because it will mean opportunities for jobs in this region.”
Reda said an economic impact study released in September estimated that 200,000 jobs could be created in the next three to five years as a result of the oil and gas boom.
But a study led by an Ohio State University professor predicts oil and natural gas drilling in Ohio will create far fewer jobs than the estimated 200,000 the industry has forecast.
The report released in mid-December by economics professor Mark Partridge and his team expects 20,000 jobs to be generated by the development of energy locked in rock deep beneath eastern Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Those jobs would be created directly and indirectly from drilling.
“We need to be setting realistic expectations,” said Partridge, who specializes in urban and rural development.
While Ohio University is keeping tabs on the oil and gas industry, it’s unlikely that the institution will develop a four-year degree program specifically for these fields. But existing classes or electives may be adjusted to take the possible oil and gas boom into account.
“The idea of developing a degree specifically centered around fracking would be an extremely narrow specialization,” said Dr. Valerie Young, department chairwoman for chemical and biomolecular engineering and an associate professor at Ohio University. “So the question would be, what do all those people do in 10 years with a degree in fracking?”
Young said there are challenges involved in extracting shale gas safely and economically, and meeting those challenges requires the same fundamentals learned in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering and geology classes. As a result, she suspects any curricular changes at OU will focus on offering electives in specifics of fracking technology, or the environmental, social and economic challenges that can result from it. Young said she could see graduate research conducted with a focus on the business, and OU’s own researchers have knowledge to could be helpful to the industry.
“In terms of research here at the university, we also have the facilities and expertise that are really well placed to assist the industry and the whole idea of shale gas exploration and extraction done responsibly,” she said, adding the university has an institute for corrosion and multiphase technology that conducts research on conventional oil and gas extraction. “If there really is going to be a shale gas extraction boom in this area, that kind of expertise is very transferable.”
Hocking College spokeswoman Laura Alloway said the college is considering the potential educational needs of the oil and gas industry, but is also looking at the environmental impacts.
“Similar to other individuals and organizations in the area, Hocking College is carefully and thoughtfully considering the impact and opportunities the business of fracking could bring to the region,” Alloway said. “However, because of Hocking’s emphasis on natural resources education, our goal would be to balance any program offerings to prepare students for careers in this industry with a need to maintain focus on the environmental impacts.
“We have not concluded if or when Hocking College would offer these programs, but it is certainly a topic of consideration,” she added.
Environmental concerns are an issue Young has as well, but she also personally believes the economic benefits cannot be ignored.
“There are some people who seem to feel they are automatically against the idea of shale gas production because of the environmental concerns, and other people look at those concerns and say the problem here is, let’s make sure we do this correctly. This is an energy resource we can’t afford to pass up, but at the same time, if they do a poor job, that is not good for anybody,” she said.
Young said a lot of the shale gas operations would require old wells to be properly repaired and resealed before any work could begin, and Young sees that as a positive.
“This is an opportunity to get some correction and remediation done that otherwise wouldn’t get done because there is no economic incentive to do it,” she said, adding she believes there is an opportunity in “doing (extraction) right, rather than trying to prevent it from happening at all.
“This is an opportunity for people here to be employed, and at the same time, to have control over the way their land is used and the kind of technology used here,” she added. “It is a great opportunity for this region to be noticed. It has a lot of positive qualities, and it’s been too often overlooked.
The Washington Post asked Republicans who ran or considered running for president this year what the remaining contenders should focus on heading into the Iowa caucuses.
Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi:
If the 2012 election is about President Barack Obama’s policies and the negative results of those policies, he won’t be re-elected; so if I were campaigning, I’d talk about how his policies have made economic growth and job creation harder.
Republicans and independents want a straightforward, accurate discussion of Obama’s proposals for the largest tax increase in history, which falls mostly on job creators; his unprecedented explosion of the federal debt, primarily caused by his skyrocketing government spending; creation of a government-run health-care system that will increase the cost of both health care and health insurance; an energy policy that would drive up energy costs so Americans will use less of it; and excessively expensive and onerous regulation.
Those Obama policies will elect a new Republican president because they make it harder to create jobs and stimulate growth.
The plain-spoken truth about issues such as controlling spending on entitlements and promoting economic growth and deficit reduction through tax reform will pay off in the primaries and in November. Voters are sick of happy talk and cheap attacks. They’re ready for problem-solving, and they know it requires tough decisions.
Finally, I’d attack Obama’s policies and offer solutions instead of attacking primary opponents. As conservative as I am, remember that the middle will decide the election in November, and the center agrees with us on the critical issues.
Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, Republican nominee for vice president in 2008:
Given the concerns I have for some of the Republican field’s focus thus far, I must implore the candidates to do something that sounds self-promoting, but whatever. Candidates, please turn to Chapter Three of “Going Rogue” and read what it takes for our country to step toward energy independence. Note the lesson I share in the same chapter about taking on the “elite,” the crony capitalists and the permanent political establishment to get a job done.
Do you really realize what is at stake? What is at stake is our republic. The gravity of today’s situation is real. We count on you to lead our nation on the right path. Please let us know you realize this. Understand how the left’s terrifyingly naive assault on U.S. industry exposes us to the mercy of foreign regimes whose prime objective is, at worst, our permanent demise and, at best, is stripping away our freedom. God has blessed America with ingenuity, natural resources and the strength of our workforce. Let’s use them. Tell voters that you understand this. Talk about this on the campaign trail. And quit gripin’ and moaning about “inside baseball” partisan machinations and maneuvering. We have other things to worry about. Stay strong. Focus on defending our republic and how we’ll re-industrialize our most exceptional nation in order to defeat the incumbent and win for America.
Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana; author of “Keeping the Republic”:
One hopes in 2012 for a campaign that levels with the American people about the brute, mathematically certain dangers of our indebtedness and that trusts them enough to present a program of change, specific and sufficiently bold to restore the promise of upward mobility for all.
The advocates of change should stress our commonality, never our divisions. Every American, regardless of category, will be harmed if we continue following Europe into debt disaster. Every American, regardless of ideology, has a vital stake in a private economy that grows far faster than current policies permit and thus provides opportunity to each individual and revenue to fund whatever level of public activity we decide is appropriate.
Tax reform, domestic energy production and a regulatory pause must be advocated as indispensable for poor people, unemployed people and, especially, young people. All close calls must be made in favor of private growth. Today’s blind, anti-growth zealotry must be contested as the cruel, pro-poverty policy it is. Prospective reforms to save the safety net must be advanced with aggressive confidence. With survival literally at stake, and broad consensus required to enable major changes, arguments about secondary issues should be muted.
The absence of an alternative world currency and investment havens has given this ever-fortunate nation a precious, maybe final, chance. Those who would lead us after 2012 should campaign to govern, not merely to win.
Herman Cain, former chief executive officer of Godfather’s Pizza:
This year is the time to get bold. Bold tax reform must be on the lips of every politician, the media and every voter. Americans have been victimized by a tax code that has corrupted our free-market economy by doling out favors, picking winners and losers, and dividing our nation with class warfare. Likewise, they have been victimized by the idea that we can spend our way to prosperity.
The bold solution is my 9-9-9 plan. It’s simple: a 9 percent business flat tax; a 9 percent individual flat tax; and a 9 percent national sales tax. An official who served in the Reagan Treasury Department said that, in addition to being simple, 9-9-9 is “fair, efficient, neutral and transparent.” My plan allows Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money and to trust the government to be good stewards of the money it takes.
We also need a bold energy policy. America has an abundance of natural gas and oil that is trapped — not by soil and rock but by excessive regulation and politicians too timid to take on the environmentalists’ attack on energy independence and prosperity. Remove these shackles, and the United States could become the world’s top energy producer.