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So why is he considering appointing a major proponent of fracking to lead the Department of Energy?

Probably because Obama is interested in replacing coal as a major source of electricity in the US. Nat gas is a boon to the the environmental goal of cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions. One needs a baseload supply, and our choices are (since hydro is limited) either nat gas or nuclear. Currently natural gas from fracking is quite a bit cheaper than building new nuke plants.

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