Fracking industry keeps eye on Obama

EPA report could doom its future

North Carolina Gov.-elect Pat McCrory, a Republican, recently said he plans to get his state “in the energy business,” signaling that he will take a different path from that of his predecessor, Gov. Bev Perdue, who vetoed legislation to allow fracking.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo must decide whether to allow the practice in the Empire State, though he continues to equivocate, and it’s unclear when he will make a decision. Last month, a coalition of environmental groups sued California to stop fracking, claiming that the toll it may take on water supplies has not been fully studied.

Meanwhile, states such as Pennsylvania and North Dakota continue to expand drilling, creating tens of thousands of jobs and pumping millions of dollars into local economies.

Any federal action to limit fracking would pour cold water on the growth in those states and give fresh ammunition to the vocal environmental opposition in New York, California and elsewhere. Although some new federal rules and oversight are almost inevitable, many analysts say, the administration can’t turn back the tide.

“It’s clear that the EPA, the Interior Department, may impose some more regulations on drilling both nationally and on federal lands, but it cannot and will not stop all the momentum. It’s too big,” Robert Bryce, an energy scholar at the Manhattan Institute, said in a recent interview with Fox News. “The Obama administration would be foolish, absolutely insane, to try and stop it.”

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