WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday that U.S. production of cleaner burning coal, shale oil and gas, and liquefied natural gas has grown under the Trump administration and the increase didn’t result in more pollution.
This increase has led to “job additions to the oil and gas and coal sectors, greater natural gas exports, both LNG and pipeline exports, and greater year-to -year coal exports,” Perry said at a joint news conference with International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol.
“United States is set to lead the growth in global oil supply over the next five years,” said Birol. “United States will be one of the three largest exporters (of LNG) by 2022.”
Environmentalists, however, are concerned about the effects of some of the increased production, and especially criticized continued reliance on coal. In 2016, coal accounted for 68 percent of the U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the country’s electric power sector, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
But Perry said cleaner-burning coal and increased use of LNG help the U.S. control pollution.
“We can have a cleaner environment and a strong, prosperous nation. We do not have to sacrifice one for the other,” said Perry.
“When we grew up, back in the ‘70s, acid rain was a major issue on the East Coast of this country,” he said, but technology innovations ended that problem.
Birol said the U.S. now “makes the largest contribution to flattening of global emissions.”
“This is largely a result of shale gas,” he said. “Since 2014, there has been a reduction of 310 million tonnes, which is equal to all of the world’s emissions coming from the transportation sector of growth.”
Shale gas is extracted from shale formations through hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Because the method requires injecting liquid into rock at high pressure, opponents argue that it can pollute water sources. In addition, “hydraulic fracturing has been inferred to trigger the majority of injection-induced earthquakes in western Canada,” according to a study by Xuewei Bao and David W. Eaton in Science Journal.
Perry noted the role of LNG in reducing emissions, saying that while he was governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, the state shifted from older, less efficient plants that used coal power to LNG-powered plants. In 2014, Texas led all states in emitting the highest amount of CO2, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.