A fact-sheet released by the White House following Tuesday’s State of the Union Address announced the Obama Administration’s intent to work with Congress, State and local governments to create Sustainable Shale Gas Growth Zones. According to the fact-sheet, these zones would help ensure that “shale gas is developed in a safe, responsible way” that helps regions withstand the ups and downs of a shale gas development and build and deploy clean energy technologies. A White House spokesman said that more details on the shale zones will be available in the coming weeks.

Analyst Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners LLC stated that the shale gas proposal suggested the Obama Administration would be utilizing a “softer touch” on drilling issues than that exhibited during the President’s first term. Barry Russell, the President and CEO of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, stated that the “IPAA welcomes President Obama’s embrace of natural gas in his State of the Union address.” Russell was critical of the President’s call for repeal of the energy industry’s tax provisions that many cite as being critical to the shale development revolution. “These provisions are typical business deductions absolutely critical to growing oil and natural gas production and the boost in economic growth and energy security that stems from development.”