Fracking taking center stage in election year climate change debate

by WorldTribune Staff, October 7, 2020

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has enabled the United States to become an energy independent nation.

“We can’t do it without fracking,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance oil and gas trade association. “Over 90 percent of the wells in the United States are fracked now. We have very few conventional resources, the Gulf of Mexico being one example. Otherwise, everything has to be fracked.”

The Biden campaign’s climate change task force is led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a sponsor of the Fracking Ban Act.

Fracking has also risen to the campaign forefront in the 2020 election.

President Donald Trump has embraced fracking. Democrat candidate Joe Biden has not.

In his backing of the Green New Deal, Biden’s climate change agenda once included a complete ban on fracking. But, recently Biden has said he wouldn’t completely ban fracking, but would prohibit it on public lands.

Biden has also said he would seek to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which would mean replacing coal, oil and natural gas with renewable energy sources, rendering fracking obsolete.

The Green New Deal resolution pushed by socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

While Biden insists he would not ban fracking, it is Ocasio-Cortez who heads up the Biden campaign climate task force. AOC favors a total ban on fracking, leading to speculation that Biden, if elected, will renege on his promise not to ban fracking.

Ocasio-Cortez has co-sponsored the Fracking Ban Act in Congress with Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sgamma said she believes Americans are too smart to buy the great leap forward into a green-energy utopia.

“Until there’s actually an alternative that does everything oil, gas and coal do, going to net-zero means we’re all poorer, we can’t travel, we can’t turn on the electricity. There’s just not an alternative right now that does everything oil, gas and coal do 24/7,” Sgamma told The Washington Times in an interview published on Oct. 1. “We can wish there was, but there’s not. And California provides a cautionary example that a lot of people aren’t heeding.”

Trump has used the fracking issue in key swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, where hydraulic fracturing in the oil-and-gas rich Marcellus Shale has driven an economic boom.

“Biden reiterated his pledge to require net-zero carbon emissions,” Trump said at a rally in Pittsburgh. “That’s basically saying, do you know what that is? There’ll be no more oil, there’ll be no more gas, there’ll be no more nothing, there’ll be no more industry, there’ll be no more country. That’s what it’s saying really. And that would instantly shut down fracking and mining immediately in Pennsylvania, sending your jobs overseas, sending your money to somebody else, not you.”

During the Democrat primaries, Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, called for a total ban on fracking.

In March, Biden declared “no new fracking,” which his campaign later said referred to new drilling on public lands, but he has since insisted that “I am not banning fracking.”

Biden faces intense pressure on the Left from the environmental movement, including San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, a top Democrat Party party fundraiser.

“That’s what Biden’s struggle is: how to worry about jobs in the gas and oil industry in Pennsylvania, and at the same time keep his environmental constituency,” said Floyd Ciruli, director of the University of Denver Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research. “Tom Steyer is one of his top fundraisers and campaigners, and has been for several months, and so he’s got Steyer right on his shoulder.”

Also fueling the issue is California, which leads the nation in transitioning to green energy — and was forced in August to implement more power shutdowns as electricity demand exceeded supply.

“You can’t wave a magic wand and say all energy needs to come from wind and solar because then you get California and rolling blackouts,” Sgamma said. “So I do think people have connected the dots and understand that energy is important, which is why the issue has risen to that level.”

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