Energy industry could be hit by tougher regulations in Obama second term

The energy industry could see itself under a renewed attack by regulators and environmental groups during President Barack Obama’s second term as the administration could tighten regulations on oil, gas, and coal.

“It’s going to be a rougher second term for oil and gas given the way the environmental debate is going and the diminished incentive Obama has to protect oil and gas after his last election is behind him,” said Robert McNally, a former White House energy adviser under George W. Bush and current head of the Rapidan Group consulting firm.

Reuters reports that Obama slowed fossil fuel regulations during the campaign as his challenger Mitt Romney championed expanding drilling and more state authority over oil and gas regulation while painting Obama as anti-fossil fuel.

“Obama streamlined regulation on drilling for natural gas from shale and delayed finalizing rules on mercury emissions from power plants,” according to Reuters. “The light touch may have helped the president gain support from voters anxious about jobs in gas-rich Pennsylvania and Ohio.”

Despite the regulatory slowdown, it has been reported that the Environmental Protection Agency has more than 50 staffers gearing up for a “November Surprise” to finish new greenhouse gas standards.

“[I]t’s pretty clear that if President Obama secures a second term, the Obama-EPA will have a very busy next four years, moving full speed ahead to implement numerous major rules and regulations that he has delayed or punted due to the upcoming election,” reads a report by Inhofe on EPA actions during an Obama second term.

The brunt of the environmental regulations have been felt by the coal industry and have contributed to the planned shutdown of more than 200 coal-fired generators across 25 states, reports the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Coal mining companies and miners also saw 9,000 mining jobs were lost in October, with mining employment decreasing by 17,000 jobs since May of this year.

‘We will see energy prices continue to go up as a result of these policies,” Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research told the Daily Caller News Foundation, adding that “coal is toast” in an Obama second term due to onerous EPA regulations.