Tuesday’s State of the Union address marks the onset of President Obama’s final two years in office. Although the President’s tax and education proposals championing so-called “middle class economics” will dominate the headlines, Washington faces no shortage of key energy issues on the 2015 agenda.
While Obama is expected to boast the nation’s emergence as the world’s leading natural gas producer during the address, his administration has recently laid out a plan for the first regulations to reduce methane emissions from new natural gas wells. The proposal aims to curb the discharge of a potent greenhouse gas by roughly half and add to Obama’s climate change agenda, a principal component of his legacy.
Obama has faced criticism for the new methane regulations. Jack Gerard, CEO of the top oil lobby American Petroleum Institute believes that the natural gas industry is being “singled out” by the administration. The Cato Institute provided a strong non-stakeholder viewpoint, claiming that the proposed regulations are “a waste of time and energy.”
Free community college will move the press needle, but American energy will move the economy. Pressure from lobbies, the ongoing debate in the Senate over the Keystone XL pipeline and Senator Ted Cruz’s “rogue” push to repeal a decades-old ban on crude oil exports are all critical developments to monitor in the political and economic arena for the coming days.
-Jeong Seo is a research associate at the National Center for Policy Analysis