After a decade in power, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has definitely worn out his welcome in this fair city.

But his no-nonsense approach to management is more than welcome in the saner segment of the environmental community. Bloomberg today announced a plan to tackle one of the biggest hurdles to development of America’s shale gas resources: hydraulic fracking.

Environmentalists fear that fracking poses a threat to groundwater supplies. They want to restrict shale development. The reality: America is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. And like it or not, shale formations will be developed to spur local economies and reduce reliance on energy imports. Enter Bloomberg.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving a three-year $6M grant to the Environmental Defense Fund for work to minimize the impact of fracturing. The funding will bankroll EDF’s effort to draw up industry rules and collect best practice data in the 14 states that contain 85 percent of unconventional gas reserves.

Said Bloomberg:
“Here’s the truth on natural gas. The environmentalists who oppose all fracking are wrong, and the drillers who claim that regulation will kill the industry are wrong. What we need to do is make sure that the gas is extracted carefully and in the right places, and that has to be done through strong, responsible regulation.”

You got to like Mike’s thinking. One wonders how he's going to tackle the No. 2 problem of shale production: the need to build a supporting infrastracture for the equipment, trucks and personnel required for development.

Bloomberg’s gift follows his $50M donation to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign to reduce the number of coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

The rest of the nation will benefit from NYC’s loss of Mayor Mike.

(Photo: NYC Mayor's Office)