AS AMERICANS CONTINUE TO FRET the vacuous insanity of current US-Middle East energy policy, I have been among those writing and talking to anyone who can whistle Dixie about the untapped wealth America has packed beneath our feet and below our water tables in the form of shale gas.
The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, and boasts the four largest fields in the world. The Haynesville field in Louisiana (with production up by 77 per cent in 2009); the Fayetteville field in Arkansas and the Marcellus field in Pennsylvania (both with production up by 50 per cent); and the Barnett field in Texas and Oklahoma (with production up by double-digit increases).
These core centers of potent gas are trapped in shale rock that can be liberated via a process called hydraulic fractioning, more commonly called fracking. Wells are drilled several miles into the earth's crust, greased by a stream of water, sand, and a minor amount of chemicals to fracture the rock and release the gas. All this happens far below the surface and the water tables. Natural gas is relatively clean-burning, is located on-shore, and is American energy wealth writ large.
Behold. Now we get a report from the United Nations, of all places, that asserts America can indeed be on the verge of energy independence and can become one of the world's great exporters of energy because of these shale gas and oil reserves. Natural gas is the one commodity that has been plummeting in price and delivering an economic jolt of its own for consumers more accustomed to higher energy prices.
But why are we not rushing to pump this available gas? That's where the news stops being news, and becomes the same old dog and pony show. In other words, where there's a formidable US energy supply, there's a yellow dog Democrat blocking the way.
Perhaps we should update the reference, and start calling these ridiculous "greenies" the green hornet Democrats, because they can't help themselves but to stir up a lot of wicked buzz and stinging hot air with Speaker Pelosi most assuredly their queen.