The Politically Incorrect CEO WSJ.COM
Not that he fears a temporary ban [on fracking natural gas wells] in any case. "You want to go ban fracking for a year? Knock yourself out. It would be marvelous for our share price," because the limit on supply would send gas prices soaring. "Essentially every well in the U.S. is fracked," he continues, and therefore a ban on gas production would eliminate the energy on which utilities and their customers rely. "You'll kill tens of thousands of people, freeze them out. You'll starve them out. It's completely unthinkable."
Mr. McClendon promotes natural gas as a carbon-light fuel, but that doesn't mean he's convinced that man is really changing the climate. "There have been times in the past on this planet where it's been hotter but CO2 levels have been lower. And there have been times when CO2 levels have been higher and the climate's been cooler. . . . Would people cheat on climate science? Sure. Because all it is is a model into which there are 2,000 variables and if I want this outcome I nudge that one up a little and down a little bit and there you go."
These days the CEO saves his particular scorn for the occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Asked about President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canada and the Western U.S. to the Gulf Coast, he says: "I'm not surprised that this president made that decision. I'm surprised that a president made that decision. But knowing what I know about the sway that environmentalists have . . ."
He doesn't complete the sentence. But he's not done talking about the president and "the environmentalist groups that he hangs out with."
Says Mr. McClendon, "I get mad at the New York-based environmentalists because if you were truly environmentalists you wouldn't have a storm surge system and a sanitary system hooked together here that requires you to close your beaches 10 times a year. You'd hire an army of people to pick up plastic bottles off the street and newspapers off the street and it wouldn't all go into the rivers. But you know, these are people who have a great deal of influence with the president and I think he had lost some of their confidence and he needed to do something to deliver a victory for environmentalists."
The CEO has been thinking about the message the president should have delivered in January when he rejected the pipeline. "What he should have said is: 'OK, so we're not going to build Keystone and you the American people, I just want you to know that this will result in higher gasoline and diesel prices for you for the rest of your lives because I just woke Canada up from a 50-year slumber and I slapped them in the face and they will now build a pipeline to Vancouver. And the Chinese today are celebrating. And as a consequence prices for oil in the U.S. will be higher.'"