The EPA has had many victories over the years.
In fact, if it weren't for some of those victories, our city skylines would look eerily similar to those of Beijing.
And thanks to the EPA successfully banning the dumping of sewage sludge into the ocean, I can spend a day at the beach without wading in massive fish kills, which is nice.
But the EPA has also been irresponsibly used as a tool of manipulation.
It's nothing new: a sitting president using some random bureaucracy to his advantage...
We saw it during the Bush Administration, when references to “climate change” in an EPA report were deleted by White House officials.
And we're seeing it today with the Obama administration, as the EPA has recently declared, “hydraulic fracturing is perfectly capable of being clean.”
(That's like saying JFK was perfectly capable of being a loyal husband! Of course he was capable.)
But none of this really matters.
What matters, as I've said time and time again, is that domestic oil and gas production will continue to develop at a record pace whether the environmentalists like it or not.
It's the Jobs, Stupid
Earthquakes, tainted water supplies, increases in carbon emissions — all directly connected to the domestic production of oil and gas...
It's all irrelevant because Obama knows that if he doesn't support the oil and gas boom in the United States, he's done for.
You just can't ignore an industry that provides millions of jobs and generates trillions of dollars in revenue, and expect to win a second term.
That being said, there's no denying that improved environmental performance from domestic oil and gas operations will still be necessary in the future. It's why we're seeing so much action in the water filtration and recycling space right now — particularly with those companies operating in the oil and gas sector.
My colleague Chris DeHaemer is actually playing one of those stocks right now, and his readers are currently enjoying double-digit gains from that one.
Of course, most of the improved environmental performances for oil and gas operations are going to come primarily from the producers themselves...
Especially in Canada, where tar sands operations are continuously under fire for weakening the nation's once-aggressive air and water quality standards.
As a result, Canadian tar sand producers are actively looking to improve environmental performance. They know that if they don't do it themselves, at some point, the government will step in...
And that will benefit no one.
Last week, 12 Canadian tar sands producers formed a new alliance that intends to focus on accelerating the pace of improving environmental performance.
It's called Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), and it's focusing its attention on four environmental priorities:
- Tailings – Canadian Natural Resources Limited has helped develop processes that help decrease the amount of water required to process bitumen while isolating carbon dioxide in tailings ponds.
- Water – Five Canadian producers are now working with a new ceramic membrane technology that could simplify the water treatment process and produce better quality water by removing oil and solid particles.
- Land – Pulling data from a trial study last year, five tar sands producers were able to reclaim ecosystems in areas where drainage operations were concentrated. Planting 900 black spruce trees in the area, 94% actually survived.
- Greenhouse gas emissions – Six tar sands producers have developed a combustion project that is expected to have a number of advantages over competing technologies. These include: lower energy usage, lower operating costs, significant reductions of air emissions, the ability to reduce overall water use, and the ability to capture up to 99% of carbon emissions.
COSIA is also relying on input from outside its 12 member companies, including government and academia.
Although tar sands production serves as a great environmental burden, it also serves as a tremendous creator of wealth. And regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, that will always win out.
So we might as well take the appropriate steps to do this responsibly.
Certainly, that's the direction many of those North Dakota operations are moving in...
These are actually the ones I keep telling you about week after week — and week after week, these same three companies keep making us money.
To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth...
@JeffSiegel on Twitter
Jeff is the managing editor of Energy and Capital and contributing analyst for the Energy Investor, an independent investment research service focusing primarily on stocks in the oil & gas, modern energy and infrastructure markets. He has been a featured guest on Fox, CNBC, and Bloomberg Asia, and is the author of the best-selling book, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor's page.