Policy: Environment & Energy

Vladimir Putin's Crimean adventures could hasten Eastern European energy independence

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Russia,Energy and Environment,Fracking,Ukraine,Crimea

Hydraulic fracturing, aka "fracking," has revolutionized oil and natural gas production in America, and it looks like Vladimir Putin is boosting the technology to a similar result in Eastern Europe.

Putin doesn't intend such a result, of course, and in fact it would be greatly damaging to Russia's energy industry if that is what happens.

But Washington, D.C., isn't the only place where government actions almost always produce unintended consequences. It happens in Moscow, too.

God bless Poland

Viewing events in next-door Ukraine, Polish officials earlier this week opted to allow fracking for shale gas to go forward tax-free for the next six years.

Poland is thought to have as much as 2,000 million cubic meters of shale gas reserves, more than enough to greatly lessen the Poles' dependence upon Russian energy.

Reducing or eliminating Poland's dependence on Putin's energy oligarchs would be a major step forward toward freeing Eastern Europe from the Russian bear.

Baltic states, too

The Baltic states, especially Estonia, are also searching for ways to maximize domestic energy production in order to free themselves from Russian dependence.

Estonia is unique in the energy world in producing significant amounts of oil shale, aka "kerogen," a precursor to petroleum. Most of the country's electricity is generated using oil shale.

There is even an Estonia-backed effort to develop oil shale resources in Utah. The obstacles are environmental because oil shale is carbon-intense, and ideological, thanks to the Obama administration's opposition.

What comes next?

The Ukraine also has significant energy resources that fracking makes imminently producible. Officials there have signed deals with Shell and Chevron to make that happen.

Thanks to the liberation of these Eastern European nations from Soviet dominance, they are beginning to develop economies based on economic freedom.

Combine the profit motive with Putin's obvious imperial ambitions and the result may hasten development of energy resources that would allow Eastern Europe to tell the Russians where to shove their Gazprom.

For more information and analysis of these and other energy issues, check out the immense resources of the Institute for Energy Research.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

Editorial: Fighting waste and fraud requires junkyard dogs, not pawns.

Columnist/Byron York: Democrats don't know which way to turn in jam over Obamacare.

Columnist/Philip Klein: President Obama is now the most powerful insurance salesman in the world.

Columnist/Veronique de Rugy: White House applies Emanuel doctrine in tying IMF funding to Ukraine aid.

Beltway Confidential/Joel Gehrke: Harry Reid takes campaign money from companies under investigation for bribery law violations.

PennAve/Rebecca Berg: Scott Brown poised to explore New Hampshire Senate run.

Legal Newsline/David Yates: RedState Women PAC online, Wendy Davis campaign strikes back.

In other news

The Washington Post: CIA feared Senate probe would expose sources.

NBC News: Senate reaches deal on jobless aid.

CNN: Kerry, Labrov hold last-ditch talks before Crimea vote.

The New York Times: Crimean Tatars on guard against Russia.

The Telegraph (UK): Syria's psychopaths are unstoppable.

Time Magazine: Another knife attack puts China on edge.

Righty Playbook

National Review Online/Jonah Goldberg: The most cynical generation.

Washington Free Beacon: NYPD denies FOIA for FOIA handbook.

The Weekly Standard: A Tea Party of rivals.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Five things Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Cosmos" gets wrong.

Lefty Playbook

UTNE Reader: By the way, your house is on fire.

Mother Jones: Wall Street investors take aim at farmland.

The American Prospect: The presidential race is where the glamour is found, but it's not where liberals can build power.

Bonus must-read

Washington Monthly: On the origins of ideology.

Blog Right

Gateway Pundit: U.S. officials believe missing Malaysian flight flew for five hours.

Powerline: Common Core and the new SAT.

Jonathan V. Last: The progressive hunger games.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: Rand Paul knighted Akin 2.0 in North Carolina Senate race.

Talk Left: DOJ endorses reduced sentences for drug crimes.

Wonkette: Ezra Klein's awesome new website hires awesome new gay writer who actually doesn't like gays.

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