State of the Union Speech Will Call for Expanding U.S. Oil and Gas Production

by
January 24, 2012

By DEBORAH SOLOMON And LAURA MECKLER, The Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to call for an increase in domestic energy production, said people familiar with the plans.

Mr. Obama is expected to tout the economic and energy security benefits of increased U.S. oil and gas production, a message unlikely to sit well with some of the President’s environmental supporters but which could blunt industry and Republican criticism of his energy policies.

Mr. Obama’s speech is expected to call for increased oil and gas production and highlight a drop in U.S. oil imports, although some of that decrease stems from reduced demand amid a weak economy.

One idea discussed and later dropped was to set a natural gas production goal, those people said. A decision was made not to include the goal in the speech, an administration official said.

WSJ’s Laura Meckler join the News Hub to discuss this week’s State of the Union Address and the likelihood President Obama will take a much more stern tone than in previous years. AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

The president’s focus on natural gas is part of a broad, but quiet, effort to hasten its production, including the use of a controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing. The administration, while making gestures towards environmental concerns with fracking, has so far resisted overtures to impose sweeping new federal rules governing air and water quality, or to ban fracking outright.

Administration officials say the potential to tap the natural gas beneath U.S. soil is too attractive to ignore or hamper with potentially unnecessary rules, given that the practice is regulated by the states and is creating jobs. This summer the White House abandoned an air-quality rule that would have tightened standards for smog-forming ozone, a rule the oil and gas industry said would have limited natural-gas drilling.

To read more , visit: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204624204577179352032306864.html

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