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Chamberlain reports: "President Barack Obama suggested that the U.S. is open to exporting fracked shale gas, once promised as the source of American "energy independence," to the EU and urged the EU to open up its own fracking reserves amid energy fears related to the crisis in Ukraine."

President of the European commission Jose Manuel Barroso, US president Barack Obama and president of the European council Herman van Rompuy at the summit in Brussels. (photo: PhotoNews/Getty Images)
President of the European commission Jose Manuel Barroso, US president Barack Obama and president of the European council Herman van Rompuy at the summit in Brussels. (photo: PhotoNews/Getty Images)

Obama: 'Forget Russian Gas, Just Frack Europe'

By Jacob Chamberlain, Common Dreams

28 March 14


Obama calls for combination of European fracking and US exports to serve EU energy needs

peaking after a meeting with European leaders at the EU-US summit in Brussels on Wednesday, President Barack Obama suggested that the U.S. is open to exporting fracked shale gas, once promised as the source of American "energy independence," to the EU and urged the EU to open up its own fracking reserves amid energy fears related to the crisis in Ukraine. Environmental groups have warned these policies will do nothing by way of energy security and everything for global environmental destruction and climate chaos.

"Once we have a trade agreement in place," Obama said at a news conference in Brussels in reference to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal currently in the works, "export licenses for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today's geopolitical environment."

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso reportedly pressed Obama during Wednesday's meeting to ease current restrictions on U.S. gas exports, claiming fears over the future of Russian gas imports, which make up a quarter of EU gas supplies.

While insisting that U.S gas exports could be done sometime in the future, Obama used more candid language to suggest EU leaders should first open up their own shale gas reserves to fracking—amongst other energy options such as increased nuclear power.

"I think it is useful for Europe to look at its own energy assets, as well as how the United States can supply additional energy assets," Obama said. "Because the truth of the matter is, is that just as there’s no easy, free, simple way to defend ourselves, there’s no perfect, free, ideal, cheap energy sources. Every possible energy source has some inconveniences or downsides. And I think that Europe collectively is going to need to examine, in light of what’s happened, their energy policies to find are there additional ways that they can diversify and accelerate energy independence."

He added: "The United States as a source of energy is one possibility, and we’ve been blessed by some incredible resources. But we’re also making choices and taking on some of the difficulties and challenges of energy development, and Europe is going to have to go through some of those same conversations as well."

The comments came, Reuters reports, as "a clear reference to opposition in parts of the EU on environmental grounds to nuclear power and the extraction of shale gas."

France and Bulgaria currently ban the controversial drilling practice, which has been known to contaminate ground water supplies and pollute the air, while countries such as Britain and Poland have faced protests against ongoing fracking exploration, as Reuters reports.

Since the onset of the Ukraine crisis has sparked conversations regarding EU energy concerns, environmentalists have warned that the fossil fuel industry and fossil fuel friendly leaders are using the crisis to push through energy policies they have wanted all along—particularly having to do with the production and export of unconventional fossil fuels such as Canada's tar sands and the U.S's shale gas. As Stewart Trew writes at the Council of Canadian's blog today:

Now Canada, political voices in the United States, and the European Commission for that matter, are trying to leverage the political crisis in Ukraine to make a case for more (not less) North American imports of the dirty stuff: tar sands from Alberta and fracked gas from North America’s “boom” in unconventional shale production. The first puts pressure on Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring bitumen from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast before shipping the final product to Europe and Asia. (The Energy East pipeline would do the same in Canada.)

The second (fracked gas) would require the U.S. to approve new LNG plants and remove energy export restrictions, which the EU is trying to do through trade and investment negotiations with the United States. David Cameron’s government in the UK is also using the crisis to justify a European shale gas boom that environmental groups and the general public strongly opposes.

"Fossil fuels should not be used as a geopolitical bargaining chip, nor should giant oil and gas corporations write our foreign policy,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch also recently noted. “The hypocrisy of the call for exports is highlighted by the fact that it will take years for our export facilities to be able to process the volumes of gas proposed for overseas sales."

"There's been a lot of talk about fast tracking and streamlining" the approval process, Mike Tidwell, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, recently told Common Dreams in reference to natural gas export plans and a proposed LNG export terminal in Cove Point, Maryland. "People need to understand that what they are talking about is cutting corners on processes put in place to protect people and the environment." your social media marketing partner


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+8 # indian weaver 2014-03-28 08:16
Obama is the world's worst nightmare for the extensive worldwide violence he enacts, both environmentally and to all living things. I believe Obama is the greatest single threat to world peace. And I voted for the boy. I give up voting since it is worse than a waste of time.
+14 # bingers 2014-03-28 08:58
Fracking is the problem, not the answer.
+1 # nice2bgreat 2014-03-28 10:01
Is Obama the solution?

Is Hillary?
0 # curmudgeon 2014-03-28 18:26
Believe it or not - We would think Obama was a good guy ...comparatively.

+1 # nice2bgreat 2014-03-28 23:20
I'll take that as a no, and a no.
+6 # MidwesTom 2014-03-28 09:24
In 3 to 5 years we will regret that we promoted the use of natural gas fro anything other than heating of houses and businesses. Fracking has created a giant surplus of natural gas for now, however, tracked wells have a very steep decline curve. The only reason that we have a surplus right now is because tracking is new, and there are a lot of areas to drill and frack. However, once all of the good areas are developed we will be faced with a very steep decline curve, and the resulting rapid rise in natural gas price and electricity cost will be devastating.

Natural gas had hit $14/ MCF right before the tracking boom hit which drove wellhead prices down to under $3; gas is now around $4 for this year. Natural gas turbine generators use a gigantic amount of gas when operating. We used to use them just for peak shaving, but we now are running them almost year round. If one looks a=out ten years, this is a huge mistake.
+5 # jwb110 2014-03-28 10:29
So it really was always about the the oil and gas!!!
The water lenses in Europe are much more easily contaminated even then those in the US. The Agriculture of Europe is the greatest part of their stability. I am sure they are more aware that any oil gained will only go into the International Pool and any benefit they gain will never lower the prices in their native countries. I am astounded that in the US so few understand that any oil drilled here doesn't stay here.
I continue to hope that cooler heads will prevail on this issue in Europe and that they will look closely at the damage Fracking has caused in the US.
+5 # reiverpacific 2014-03-28 10:43
Well Frack-that!
Ob' is batting on a rocky wicket here as much of Europe, especially Germany and Scotland, is leading the world in alternative energy development and I can't see any country (except maybe Cameron-patsy's England, which has just privatized the Royal Mail against the wishes of the large majority) going for this.
And the people in Europe still have some power, in spite of France and England's continuing reliance on nuclear power, hardly a logical bed-fellow with the destructive, reportedly earthquake-caus ing fracking process.
+10 # angelfish 2014-03-28 10:46
Fracking WILL be the death of ALL living things. How OUR President can promote it, is anathema! After ALL the land, water and air is poisoned, WHERE does that leave us and other inhabitants of this World that we are killing at a ferocious rate?
+13 # seeuingoa 2014-03-28 11:10
That means that he will OF COURSE approve
the XL-pipeline.

Obama´s legacy will be

Extra-judicial killing in drone attacks,
Indefinite Detention,
and approval of the XL-pipeline.

What a waste of opportunity.
+3 # curmudgeon 2014-03-28 18:33
Boy what a bunch of spoilsports...j ust think of all the $$$ to rebuild all those pipelines to handle the heavier fracked output. The Arkansas incident demonstrated what happened when existing pipelines are used and direction reversed. Or think about those pipeline breaks..THERE , not here.


Hey- we'll enjoy the money...don't worry about those after us....I am sure they'll figure something....bu y, hey, that's their problem.

Live it up, NOW, for tomorrow we may be the ones fracked.
+1 # Arden 2014-03-30 10:19
Talking about shaled gas "reserves" and fracking "reserves" makes it sound like the gas has already been extracted and is just waiting for permission to be traded.

Fracking is a bad idea for so many reasons. Instead, develop the safe and clean alternative energy sources that Tesla gave us over 100 years ago when he was stopped in his tracks by JP Morgan, plus solar and wind.

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