Energy companies, environmental groups, and even Hollywood stars are watching to see what decisions President Obama makes about regulating or promoting natural gas drilling.
The stakes are huge. Business leaders don’t want government regulations to slow the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of clean, cheap domestic energy over the next few decades. Environmental groups see that same tide as a potential threat, not just to air and water, but to renewable energy. And on a strategic level, diplomats envision a future when natural gas helps make the U.S. less beholden to imports.
Some say the unexpected drilling boom presents historic options — and risks — for the Obama administration. If Obama fully embraced the boom in gas drilling the nation will see “incredible” job gains that could lead to “a re-industrialization of America.” Possibilities like that are tempting to any president, and perhaps even more so in the current economy.