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Is Obama Making the Right Bet on Natural Gas? Is Obama Making the Right Bet on Natural Gas?

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Is Obama Making the Right Bet on Natural Gas?


In this Sept. 23, 2008 photo, Natural gas is flared from an oil well near Parshall, N.D.(AP Photo/James MacPherson)(AP Photo/James MacPherson)

In his State of the Union speech last month, President Obama doubled down on his support for natural gas, calling it "the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution that causes climate change."

Is that the right decision? Why or why not?


The president's full-throttled endorsement of natural gas—both as an economic driver and as a tool to cut carbon emissions—received the most attention in what was a relatively minor focus on energy and climate issues compared to past such speeches.

In a fact sheet released alongside his speech, Obama called on Congress to work with his administration to create so-called shale natural-gas "growth zones" as a way to help safely produce more natural gas and create jobs. After his speech, Obama also visited two facilities—one in Pennsylvania's shale region and another in Wisconsin—that use natural gas.

Is Obama making the right bet on natural gas? If not, what should he be doing instead?


What more can his administration do to ensure natural gas is produced safely and in an environmentally friendly way? Are there actions the government could take to encourage development of natural gas, such as easing restrictions on federal lands or approving more exports of the fuel?

What role, if any, does Congress have in this debate?

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