Marita Noon: Six energy policy changes to watch for in a Republican-controlled Congress

Commentary by Marita Noon - Now that the dust has settled on the 2014 midterms, we can get a sense of how things will change in Washington under a Republican controlled Senate—and energy will be front and center.
      Republicans and Democrats have very different views on energy development and policy. The past six years have seen taxpayer dollars poured into green-energy projects that have embarrassed the administration and promoted teppan-style renewables that chop-up and fry unsuspecting birds mid-flight and increase costs for consumers and business. Meanwhile, Republicans have touted the job creation and economic impact available through America’s abundant fossil-fuel resources.
      Voters made their preference clear: Republicans won more seats, and with bigger majorities, than anyone predicted. The day after the election, the Friends of the Earth, wasting no time, sent out a dramatic fundraising pitch, opening with: “The election’s over—the planet lost.” (You may not have even known that the planet was on your local ballot, but apparently it was.)
       The email’s proclamation, once again, exposes the environmentalists’ agenda: “President Obama hasn’t always done the right thing for the environment. He should have denied the Keystone Pipeline years ago, he should be rolling back unchecked fracking, and he should have taken stronger action on climate both at home and in international negotiations.”
       Gratefully, though ideologically aligned with them, he attempted to appease and didn't take the extreme level of action Friends of the Earth would have liked.
      The Keystone pipeline remains a strong possibility, though the Canadians have nearly given up on us. Fracking is regulated at the state level, which, mostly, allows it to continue to increase America’s energy freedom—resulting in lower prices at the pump. Because more than 96 percent of the wells drilled in America today use the decades-old, but new-and-improved, technology of hydraulic fracturing, a federal fracking ban, like environmental groups have been trying to pass through city and county initiatives, would virtually shut down our booming energy economy. President Obama tried, but couldn't pass a cap-and-trade bill—even when his party controlled both houses. Nor could he get a new Kyoto-like international treaty ratified. Most of the western world is now retreating on the climate pledges made in a different political era.
       Friends of the Earth is correct, though. The email states: “Now, with both the Republican Senate and the House salivating and ready to sink their teeth into our most basic environmental laws, the President’s environmental legacy is truly at stake.”  Read full column