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McCarthy Says Obama Ignoring Merits of Fracking

As President Obama attends an international summit on climate change in Paris, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accused the president of ignoring "America's oil and natural gas renaissance," and said he should do more to promote hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and natural gas development around the world.

In an editorial Sunday, McCarthy cited figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that showed carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions had reached a 27-year low last April, and data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which showed a 9% decline in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2005 and 2013 (see Daily GPIApril 16). He also cited a study released this month by the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Inc., which concluded that the increase in U.S. natural gas production is the greatest contributor to the nation's decline in GHG emissions.

"To demonstrate true leadership, Obama should start emphasizing the important role of fracking and natural gas development across the globe," McCarthy told Reuters. "America would then be standing for policies with proven results rather than for ideas that may sound good, but just don't work. Developing nations desperate for economic growth would be particularly enthusiastic with this proposition as an alternative to the economically disastrous policies currently in vogue."

McCarthy took a swipe at the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP), which calls for federal limits on carbon emissions in the power generation sector, but through the increased use of renewables, solar and wind power, rather than natural gas (see Daily GPIAug. 3). He was also critical of Obama's decision to reject the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline (see Shale DailyNov. 6), and efforts to regulate venting and flaring from onshore wells located on federal lands (see Daily GPINov. 24).

"According to the president, rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline and piling regulations on the fossil fuel and power industries in the United States are necessary to preserving America's credibility as a leader on the world stage," McCarthy said. "But by doing this, Obama ignores...the advances our energy sector has made to reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously acting as the lone bright spot in our economy.

"In essence, his rhetoric is blind to the true story of American energy. But this story cannot be ignored."

Last May, EIA said the CPP could reduce CO2 emissions in the power generation sector 29-36% in 2030 from levels observed in 2005, depending upon a series of different scenarios, including one that relies heavily on oil and natural gas (see Daily GPIMay 22). Under the CPP, states would be required to develop plans to reduce CO2 emissions rates from existing fossil-fueled electricity generating units (see Daily GPI,June 2, 2014).

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