Battle rages between natural gas and coal

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By Merilee Dannemann

There’s so much competition among United States energy-producing industries, the speaker says, that the natural gas industry is trying to kill the coal industry.
The speaker is Myron Ebell, director of the Center of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. As the name suggestions, this libertarian-leaning organization advocates for unfettered free markets. His topic is overly burdensome regulations. Today he’s focusing on issues that affect New Mexico directly.
Because of natural gas fracking (hydraulic fracturing, the process by which natural gas is extracted from underground rock), U.S. energy production is way up, and the U.S. can expect to be a net energy producer, he says. The price of natural gas is low, so the gas people started the war on coal, and, he says, this has helped the Obama Administration cover up the cost effects of environmental regulations. He cites a 2011 survey by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in which the Environmental Protection Agency is blamed most, of all regulators, for interfering with business. About half of all complaints are against this one agency, according to this survey.