The future of natural gas is here. It has replaced a lot of coal burning power plants and less homes are now heated by coal.
So what is the total usage of natural gas?"The United States is the 2nd largest energy consumer in terms of total use in 2010. The U.S. ranks seventh in energy consumption per-capita after Canada and a number of small countries. Not included is the significant amount of energy used overseas in the production of retail and industrial goods consumed in the U.S.
The majority of this energy is derived from fossil fuels: in 2010, EIA data showed 25% of the nation's energy came from petroleum, 22% from coal, and 22% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 8.4% and renewable energy supplied 8%, which was mainly from hydroelectric dams although other renewables are included such as wind power, geothermal and solar energy. Energy consumption has increased at a faster rate than energy production over the last fifty years in the U.S.(when they were roughly equal). This difference is now largely met through imports." Wikipedia on energy in the United States.
CNN had broadcast an accusation that Obama has reduced/restricted the use of Natural gas from Newt Gingrich and Media matters has posted a rebuttal to those claims: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/09/27/cnn-allows-gingrich-to-lie-about-obamas-natural/190180
However there have been some important restrictions to Fracking added to the industry. Providing information on what chemicals are used for Fracking have been now allowed. Hence now people when discovering chemicals in their water can now tell if it has byproducts from fracking. Since clean water will be very valuable in the future, some safeguards should be put into place.
The future for California? ( a later edit added)
California has a lot of natural gas stoves and water heaters. In the quest for more supply for natural gas, Sempera of San Diego invested in a Liquified natural gas Dock in Ensenada Mexico. Liquified gas from Russia, Quatar and Indonesia can bring natural gas into Mexico and be transfered by pipeline to the United States.
California is too afraid to have a liquified natural gas dock in the waters of California. Hence the risk was passed onto Mexico. If more energy is needed by California, it looks like the energy needs will not be fulfilled in California. Strangely the supply of natural gas was almost stopped in Mexico: Costa Azul LNG terminal in Baja Mexico