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Policy: Environment & Energy

Does EPA's left hand know what its far-left hand is doing to fight fracking?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,EPA,FERC,Energy and Environment,Fracking,Natural Gas

Among the strongest selling points for the Environmental Protection Agency's new proposed carbon emission rule is its alleged flexibility and respect for federalism.

"EPA's proposal ... is flexible -- reflecting that different states have a different mix of sources and opportunities, and reflecting the important role of states as full partners with the federal government in cutting pollution," the agency said in its official announcement of the proposal.

Much of the media coverage of EPA's introduction of the rule that is intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants noted the assumption that natural gas will replace coal because it is cheaper and produces significantly less carbon when burned.

Fracking and cheap gas

Many power plants have already or are preparing to convert from coal to natural gas but EPA is quietly pushing a behind-the-scenes anti-fracking agenda that will undermine its carbon rule.

One place EPA is doing so is at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which reviews proposed Liquified Natural Gas export facilities. Without FERC approval, the LNG export industry goes nowhere.

But guess who for several years has been encouraging FERC not to approve new LNG exports facilities because doing so would encourage more fracking in the U.S.?

FERC doing EPA's dirty work?

Last August, for example, FERC noted that EPA urged FERC to "consider the extent to which drilling activity might be stimulated by the construction of an LNG export facility on the Gulf Coast, along with other proposed LNG export facilities, and the potential environmental effects associated with that drilling expansion."

Fracking in shale deposits accounts for 75 percent of all natural gas production and has provided the technological impetus for the huge increase in U.S. drilling activity.

As the Energy Information Administration has noted, increased natural gas exports are key to keeping U.S. prices down. So limiting LNG exports will drive natural gas prices in the U.S. higher.

But higher gas prices will slow compliance with EPA's carbon emissions rule. Does EPA's left hand know what it's far left hand is doing? More to come.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Obama covers his Bergdahl mistakes by blaming his critics.

Op-ed/David S. Kerr: Led by their president, Americans prayed on D-Day.

Columnist/Byron York: What if Obama disobeys the law and frees another Gitmo prisoner?

Beltway Confidential/T. Becket Adams: Ex-Veterans Affairs official walks back comment that Bergdahl's former unit was full of "psychopaths."

Beltway Confidential/Ashe Schow: Natalie Tennant's curious evolution on Obama and coal.

PennAve/Betsy Woodruff: Wife Elaine Chao is Mitch McConnell's secret weapon.

Legal Newsline/Nick Rees: New Jersey AG sues three energy firms.

In other news

The New York Times: Classified report says Bergdahl had history of leaving post.

CBS News: "These men waged war so that we might know peace."

Time Magazine: Legal pot may make America's children stupider, researchers say.

Righty Playbook

Washington Free Beacon: Obama's post-presidency has already begun.

The Daily Caller: Progressive icon Noam Chomsky says Obama "determined to demolish the foundations of our civil liberties."

The National Interest: The five most powerful navies on the planet.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Who says the GOP can't run on government handouts?

Lefty Playbook

The Daily Beast: We'll change America for $12 million.

Salon: Snowden says "we don't have to ask for our privacy, we can take it back."

Slate: The non-constitutional non-crisis on Gitmo prisoners.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Is it legal to try executing someone twice?

Blog Right

Yid With Lid: Remember the heroes of D-Day.

The Gateway Pundit: Bergdahl platoon mates say Obama "spit in the eye" of the military.

Hot Air: Is Germany ready to keep the green dream alive by fracking?

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: The big unanswered questions about the Mississippi courthouse caper.

The Raw Story: Vodafone exposes secret worldwide network of government wiretaps.

Hullabaloo: Digby on POW turncoats.

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