In less than a week, rising gas prices have suddenly become the issue of the day, putting President Obama on the defensive as the fragile economic recovery was threatened. The President responded forcefully in a Miami speech, blaming growing demand in China and India for the price run-up and saying America must move beyond drilling for a solution. Republican candidates seemed sure to pounce on the President’s defense of his renewable strategy and Walter Russell Mead of The American Interest even asked if high gas prices weren’t part of the President’s plans.
Natural gas supplies, on the other hand, are flush as the Department of Energy reports they have risen 40 percent over the recent five-year average. Prices were at their lowest level in a decade. Fracking received a boost as the University of Texas issued a report saying it does not threaten water supplies. Low gas prices seemed to be fueling the economic recovery and Brian Stoffel of The Motley Fool asks if natural gas isn’t the industry that can save America.
The story of Congress’s rejection of the wind tax credit may not be over as a bi-partisan group of ten Senators asked the leadership to reconsider the issue. Alex Guillen of Politico says the tax credit may not be dead yet. Its loss has already taken the wind out of the sails of the industry, according to Chicago Business columnist Ann Dwyer. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is still plugging Congress to support a wind farm off the Atlantic Coast, but in Topeka Mars Candy was denied a permit for a windmill because it would interfere with a neighboring airport.
Finally, Canada dodged a bullet as the European Union stalemated on a resolution to declare the Athabasca Tar Sands “dirty energy.” The motion would severely limit EU countries from importing. Canada claimed victory by Canadian environmentalists vowed to continue the fight. Meanwhile, a second pipeline battle is taking shape as Enbridge continues with plans to ship heavy oil to the West Coast for export to China. Canada’s transport department ruled that supertankers could be handled at Kitimat, a British Columbian port at the mouth of the Douglas Channel. Canada is seeking to cultivate Asian markets after the United States has temporarily rejected plans to build the Keystone Pipeline to Texas.