Natural gas and politics

Natural gas is moving to center stage, claiming it’s rightful place as the answer to energy independence. At current low gas prices and abundant supplies renewables like wind and solar will need huge subsidies to compete in the energy market.

John Podesta, head of the Anti-Heritage Foundation, also known as the Center for American Progress, had many nice things to say about natural gas at Harry Reid’s energy bash in Las Vegas the other day.

So did Harry Reid himself, who announced that he’s now a congregant at T. Boone Pickens’ church of natural gas.

Even Al Gore, the scourge of all things carbon, allowed that natural gas is welcome in his world.

Meanwhile, there’s an affray brewing among the the fossil fuel band of brothers. The gas guys are differentiating themselves in the market. They’re taking out ads that, in so many words, say that coal is an environmental problem. Oil is a geopolitical problem. Gas helps solve both. It’s clean and 100 percent American. So there.

What gives? A basic rule of politics is that there are no permanentfriends, only permanent interests. The gas game has shifted in the past few years. That has changed the politics of energy. Gas is no longer the polite little brother of oil and coal. Now, the gas industry has something to gain by giving oil and coal the raspberry. Enviros and their political allies have perked up with interest. That might help shift the energy debate in a positive direction.


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