THE BLOG
01/26/2011 05:04 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

SOTU Misses on an Easy Win: Natural Gas

Disappointingly missing from President Obama's State of the Union address was any real talk about energy policy. Aside from his mentioning a goal of 80% electric power from renewables by 2035 -- a difficult if not impossible task -- nothing was mentioned about global warming or an abandoned cap and trade bill in the Senate.

Most disappointing was a failure to follow up on what is so clearly the easiest energy choice this president can make today to stimulate the economy and free us from imported oil -- natural gas.

I've been consistently talking about the many advantages to be gained from conversion to natural gas and I've hardly been alone; just this morning, T. Boone Pickens on Morning Joe again discussed the importance and inevitability of domestic natural gas and the need for leadership and government incentives to jumpstart the process.

Natural gas is inarguably cleaner, greener, cheaper and entirely domestic. The US supply of proven reserves of natural gas is more than 200 trillion cubic feet and the estimated potential supply of natural gas from shale and other sources is more than 1800 trillion cubic feet. This makes the United States the single largest potential producer of natural gas on the globe and puts it close in potential supply to the entire supply in the Middle East or Asia.

Such a massive supply just cannot be much longer ignored. We are yearly donating more than $200 billion to foreign nations that don't much like us for crude oil imports, imports that could be replaced by fully domestic natural gas supplies.

But Boone's right -- despite the fact that he has investments that would benefit from government incentives -- the price of developing natural gas and technologies for vehicles, generation, storage and transport of this fantastic fuel will not come from the private sector alone with gas prices hovering around $4 dollars.

If the president is convinced about "investment" -- a major theme of last night's SOTU -- he will hopefully soon consider investment in federal incentives for natural gas. There are admittedly environmental hurdles to overcome, but for the sake of job creation, a recovering economy and frankly for national security, he couldn't steer energy policy on a more positive course.