From Emily Petsko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
While the results of last night's election are beginning to sink in, many are already looking to the next four years and questioning whether President Obama's stance on energy will shift or remain the same. Here are some highlights from promises the President made during his campaign and previous energy policies of his administration:
• Says his "all of the above" energy policy includes investments in solar, wind and biofuels in addition to coal, oil and natural gas production
• Welcomes natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, but stresses the importance of environmentally-safe practices
• Proposes to eliminate more than a half-dozen tax exemptions for oil and gas companies
• Rejected a permit that would have allowed the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the US-Canada border, but supports construction of the southern leg of the pipeline
• Oil and gas production on public lands increased in the first three years of the Obama administration (with a 13% increase for oil and 6% for gas)
• Production on private lands also increased, especially through hydraulic fracturing in Texas, North Dakota and the Marcellus Shale region
• The Department of the Interior issued fewer drilling permits in the first years of the Obama administration than under the Bush administration (dropping from 8,964 permits in 2007 to 5,237 permits in 2010)
While it is likely that Obama will impose stricter regulations on hydraulic fracturing, Forbes Magazine predicts shale drilling is not going away anytime soon due to the ever-growing dependency on gas for transportation, industry and electric generation. During Obama’s second term, gas production levels could increase more than seven-fold from 2011, according to an ASDReports study.
Locally, Marcellus Shale was a major deciding factor for many Pennsylvanians, and Democrats won all three state races despite substantial contributions to Republicans by energy companies during the first four cycles of the campaign.
Democratic Rep. Eugene DePasquale beat his opponent, Republican Rep. John Maher, for auditor general. Rep. DePasquale received $1,500 in energy contributions, compared to the $4,000 donated to Rep. Maher.
Kathleen Kane was elected the new Democratic attorney general after defeating Republican David Freed. Ms. Kane did not receive any donations from energy companies, while Mr. Freed collected over $69,000 from Range Resources, MarkWest Liberty, Chesapeake Energy, Chief E&D Holdings, Seneca Resources of Houston and Consol Energy of Cecil. Ms. Kane’s opponents argued that she hypocritically criticized the gas industry while her husband’s company profited from it, but StateImpact Pennsylvania found this to be untrue.
Democratic state Treasurer Rob McCord was reelected after defeating Republican Diana Irey Vaughan. Mr. McCord received $1,000 in contributions compared to Ms. Irey Vaughan’s $5,000 in donations.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.