It’s nice to live in Oklahoma where utility bills are declining, thanks to cheap natural gas. Said Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) spokesman Brian Alford,
We’re pleased to pass along this savings to our customers. We are fortunate from an electricity perspective to be in an extended period of lower natural gas prices, which makes it possible to deliver these savings on monthly electric bills.
Alford doesn’t explain why those natural gas prices are lower. He doesn’t say anything about fracking or the enormous investment private capital is making in developing the enormous (and now accessible) deposits of natural gas that have existed for millennia. He doesn’t say anything about how the private market is just doing what it does: bringing lower prices to consumers. Nor does he say anything about how necessary it is for government to stay out of the way in order to keep his customers’ utility bills low.
Instead, he just says his company’s “outlook for 2013 shows fairly stable natural gas prices, [thus] allowing the utility to use more natural gas to generate its electricity.”
Despite President Obama’s rhetoric about an “all of the above” energy plan, his Environmental Protection Agency has been systematically trying to undercut the development of unconventional energy – notably natural gas from shale. In what critics have rightfully assailed as a “shoot first, get the facts later” approach, the agency has worked to appease its environmentalist allies … by plotting to derail hydraulic fracturing, the process by which gas is extracted from rock formations deep in the Earth.
So zealous is the EPA that it has rushed in with its regulations long before the need for them had been established:
For example, pushed by charges from national anti-drilling activists that fracturing was contaminating drinking water in Dimock, Pa., the EPA charged to the rescue – only to discover that no rescue was necessary. In July, the agency concluded the town’s drinking water was safe.
In Parker County, Texas, EPA said that Range Resources’ natural gas operations – which included fracking – were responsible for contaminating local water supplies and ordered the company to fix its wells. In March, it was forced to withdraw the order after being unable to prove that Range was responsible for the presence of methane in water.
That’s what zealots do: shoot first, ask questions later. For the moment, at least, Oklahoma residents are enjoying a $6 decline in their monthly utility bills. May that decline continue.