TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. – With the controversial drilling technology known as “fracking” prevalent in such politically key states as Ohio and Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney made clear on Thursday that he’ll use the issue to depict President Obama as prizing the environment to the detriment of the economy.
During a rally at an energy company in this northeast Pennsylvania town, the likely Republican presidential nominee said the Obama administration has been overregulating in order to slow hydraulic fracturing, which is used to release oil or gas from shale formations that are otherwise too difficult to mine.
“This president has eight different agencies trying to fight their way to become regulators of the gas-extraction technology known as fracking,” Romney said. “And the intent, of course, is to slow down the development of our own resources.”
The Energy Information Administration says shale-gas fields in the United States are believed to contain enough natural gas to power the country for 110 years, and that fracking is essential to recovering much of it. But activists concerned with fracking’s potential environmental hazards view the process as a serious threat to groundwater.
Obama has staunchly defended his record on energy, pointing out, for example, that U.S. oil production is at an eight-year high. But Romney appears determined to depict his likely rival as being anti-energy development.
“The other day, he said that he was for 'all of the above' in the energy world, and I thought, how in the world can he be saying that? Then I realized, he probably means he's for all the energy sources that come from above the ground, all right?” Romney said. “So he's for solar and wind -- which are just fine -- but he doesn't like coal, oil, gas because they're below the ground. Now we understand Obamaspeak a little better. I'm actually for everything that comes from above, and everything that comes from below.”