By James A. WhelanThe White House is backing away from the administration’s earlier position that the United States should focus its efforts on developing the shale gas industry, as the country tries to keep its water supply stable amid rising demand.
In a briefing Thursday, White House officials argued that the shale-gas revolution is an industry that is already well-established, and that the government should continue pursuing its exploration and development of unconventional sources of gas.
But the move was short of saying the United Sates should abandon its pursuit of shale gas.
Instead, the White House said the United State should focus on exploring for water.
The announcement came after the administration released a statement saying it was “concerned about the potential risks posed by hydraulic fracturing,” or fracking.
The White the statement said, “There are many challenges ahead, including the risks associated with a rapid expansion of the industry and the potential for new vulnerabilities.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration is still working to resolve the issue of the shale industry.
“The administration remains committed to finding new ways to safely and responsibly operate the U.s. aquifers,” Sanders said.
She said the White house would provide updates on its work to address the issue “as soon as they are available.”
The shale industry is growing rapidly as more countries embrace fracking.
In 2016, it accounted for nearly half of the world’s production, according to data from IHS Markit.
It accounts for about one-third of all natural gas produced worldwide.
In April, the United Nations Environment Program called on the world to halt all fracking, and the U,S.
Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering lifting restrictions.
In recent years, the number of wells drilled in the United Kingdom and Canada has soared, while U.K. shale production is also growing rapidly.
But the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization says that the industry is a threat to global food security.
The administration has been working on the issue for months, after President Donald Trump took office.
In October, he signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Administration to begin studying hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the country.
“We have a long way to go to get there, but this is an important step to take, and one that we hope will be a catalyst for future growth,” Sanders told reporters in September.
The president has repeatedly called for the United states to shift away from relying on the oil and gas industry to meet its water needs.
In December, he told the BBC that “we have to go for oil shale” and not for fracking.
In February, he called the industry “a bad deal for the country,” arguing that it was not providing “a level playing field.”
“We’ve got to get away from fracking,” Trump said.
“I mean, this is a bad deal.”