David R. Henderson  

Obama: Stop Me Before I Regulate Again

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After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil. We doubled our production of clean energy.
This is from President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, a speech that most commentators rightly hailed as optimistic.

What he left out is why we have doubled our production of clean energy, most of which is natural gas. The answer is fracking.

This is a little ironic because Obama has been trying to increasing federal regulation of fracking. Fortunately, one of his own appointed federal judges slammed down his regulations in June.

This is from Timothy Cama, "Obama-appointed judge strikes down federal fracking rule," The Hill, June 22:

"Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing," [federal judge Scott] Skavdahl wrote in his opinion published late Tuesday. "The [Bureau of Land Management's] effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law."

Of course the rules would not likely have stopped this progress, but they would have raised the cost of fracking. When the cost of an activity rises, people do less of that activity.

HT2 Ned Mamula.


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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Vinnie writes:

Relevant:

Natural Gas and Global Warming: A Review of Evidence Finds that Methane Leaks Undercut the Climate Benefits of Natural Gas http://www.infrastructureusa.org/natural-gas-and-global-warming-a-review-of-evidence-finds-that-methane-leaks-undercut-the-climate-benefits-of-natural-gas/

Nick writes:

Most people mean wind, solar, etc. when they say clean energy, not natural gas:

http://energyupgradeca.org/en/learn/energy-basics/what-is-clean-energy

A quick google search demonstrates that that's what the president intends as well:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jan/20/barack-obama/obama-claims-us-has-doubled-production-clean-energ/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/day-3-at-the-democratic-convention/

ThaomasH writes:

Why is it not possible to mention the word "regulate" without raising the question of whether the proposed regulation has a positive or negative cost benefit analysis. For all I know the proposed regulations might be bad -- the Keystone XL decision was -- but this kind of commenting implies that anything labeled "regulation" is bad. Isn't this blog supposed to be about economics?

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