Skip to comments.Counter Putin with Natural-Gas Exports - Obama should ignore the green lobby and expedite exports...
Posted on 03/10/2014 3:04:40 PM PDT by neverdem
Obama should ignore the green lobby and expedite exports to Europe.
Post-Crimea, everyone suddenly recognizes that Russia is a potential geopolitical menace to the West.
But for years the Obama administration has completely failed to use the U.S.s boom in energy production to increase its security and that of its European allies. Frustrated members of Congress from both parties now want to force the White House to stop delaying a full two dozen permits for the export of Americas abundant natural gas.
Ukraine depends on Russia for more than two-thirds of its natural gas, and Russia is already raising prices steeply. Thirty-four percent of Europes gas came from Russia last year. Indeed, it was in part Ukraines reliance on Russian energy that pushed now-deposed Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych to abandon a scheduled trade deal with the European Union in favor of discount natural-gas prices from Russia, among other inducements from Putin. That turnaround led to the street protests that toppled Yanukovych last month.
So far the administration, under pressure from its environmental allies, is exhibiting no sense of urgency on an issue that should be a no-brainer. Its slow-walking of liquefied natural-gas plant permits is of a piece with its failure to approve the Keystone pipeline and get new trade deals done, says James Lucier, an energy analyst with Capital Alpha Partners in Washington. Its all a sign of just how disengaged from the rest of the world the Obama folks have become.
In an effort to push the Obama folks into dealing with global realities, the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Thursday unanimously passed a resolution that condemns Russias intervention in Ukraine and supports taking steps to reduce Russias control of energy and allow more natural-gas exports. Chairman Ed Royce, a California Republican, told me: With Russias economy so dependent on oil and gas sales and with the U.S. increasingly abundant in energy, it makes no sense not to include energy in our soft power response to Russias aggression. The full House will vote on the resolution on Tuesday. Speed is important; this week Russia announced it was already raising prices on the vital natural gas it sends to Ukraine, pushback for the new governments orientation to the West.
Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House aide, and Lee Feinstein, a former Obama-administration ambassador to Poland, told Reuters last week that natural gas from the U.S. will not eliminate Russian leverage, but together with substantial supplies already on the market and other sources from Qatar and Norway, it could reduce Russias stranglehold on European energy requirements. Several Democratic senators, including Mark Udall of Colorado and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, agree and have joined legislation to accelerate the permitting process. The moment is in front of us, Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat from Alaska, told reporters last week: We should take advantage of this and use it as an international tool that could help create allies but also help make sure Russia isnt just running amok out there.
Many members of Congress want the administration to follow through on President Obamas oft-repeated campaign pledge that America will pursue an all of the above energy strategy. The steps to make good on this promise are easy, many believe, and they are frustrated that Obama so far remains unmoved. The president doesnt need legislation from Congress to make these changes, from approving Keystone to ending the embargo on energy development on federal lands to natural-gas exports, House Speaker John Boehner told a group last Friday. That same day, the Wall Street Journal published an appeal Boehner wrote to President Obama, in which he urged, This is something the President could do right now in the face of Putins aggression.
The White House, however, feels no sense of urgency. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that because Europe has had a relatively mild winter, gas supplies are at or above normal levels. The environmental groups behind Obama also piously claim that nothing can be done. No matter what President Obama might order, they note, no new natural-gas-export terminals could be finished before next year. But Obamas delays, which have cost us precious time, are no excuse to keep doing the wrong thing.
Green groups also note that natural-gas deposits are often exploited through fracking, the procedure by which fluid is injected into cracks in rocks to force them open, allowing more oil and gas to flow out. Despite numerous scientific studies that find no environmental harm from the process, green advocates view fracking as dangerous both in itself and because it encourages increased use of the fossil fuels they despise.
Marita Noon, executive director of Energy Makes America Great Inc., adds: Environmental groups who are pushing to ban fracking will put the U.S. in much the same place Ukraine finds itself in beholden to unfriendly forces who can use energy to control us. Most people do not realize that more than 96 percent of the oil and natural-gas wells within our borders are developed using hydraulic fracturing.
The Obama administration faces a critical choice: It can continue to appease its environmental allies, or it can accept the new reality that the U.S. must use its energy resources to help check Putins aggression. Heres hoping the administration listens to the voices of Democrats who recognize the importance of countering Russian aggression regardless of what sanctions are imposed. As Bill Richardson, who was energy secretary under President Clinton, put it: What we are offering the international community and our friends by exporting natural gas is a form of energy security.
So far, Obama has given nothing more than empty words to Americas energy producers and allies. It is perhaps telling that when Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic sent a letter late last week urging the U.S. to step up efforts to export natural gas, it was addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. These countries have no doubt made private appeals to the White House, but the Europeans arent waiting for President Dither to make up his mind.
John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.
The left doesn't want to debate their science fiction; they just want to make ad hominems, e.g. calling sceptics flat earthers.
IMHO, we should dump our fiat currency, and return to a hard currency, in this case based on energy content, not gold. Fiat currencies hide inflation, the invisible tax.
I can almost promise you that they want "cash".
And my guess is that these "loans" will be forgiven...cuz they have nothing to pay them back.
Putin is happening now. Huge deliveries won’t happen for years.
Natural gas getting delivered is severely hampered by the lack of pipelines, unless we want to send what is already used here at home and shorting our own supply and driving up prices.
Gazprom is the largest gas exporting company in the world. Russia offers Europe cheap and plentiful gas that can be piped West.
America has nothing like Gazprom and ending European dependence on Russian gas will take years to happen.
So, 15 years from now we’ll really make Putin regret what he’s doing now....IF we start building pipelines now. Am I hearing you right?
It almost makes you wonder if the brainiacs coming up with these ideas shouldn’t spend a few days on Free Republic getting their clocks cleaned.
Burn it HERE!
There ya go!
We can always impose sanctions on Russia and pretend its hurting them.
And that's why we will ALWAYS have it!
The faculty lounge solution naturally!
Obama blew this years ago when he refused an ABM shield for the former Soviet client states. He ceded air superiority and missile vulnerability. I’ve litle doubt his overheard whisper to Medvedev/Putin had to do with further concessions or the staging of some ploy that would give Putin a chance to advance.
Bad move...we need the natural gas here. Europe made its bed with the Greenies-—let it go dark and cold.
Yes. Liquifying natural gas is expensive. Advantage: Russia.
Thanks for the map!
Here east of the Mississippi a fair percentage of our electricity could be produced by hydroelectric if we retrofitted existing dams and we could sell much of the gas.
A year or so back the DOE produced a list of some 800 dams that could be effective power generators.
Where's Joe Probono...We need a picture on Putin's desk of Obama that says....flex this...
Can you say "kickback"? Our scum politicians love to give American tax dollars to 3rd world sh*tholes with governments that aren't accountable to their people. That makes the money untraceable.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
Thanks for the ping!
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