by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2020
Earlier this month, socialist Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Fracking Ban Act, which is a companion bill to legislation sponsored by fellow socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders that would revoke current leases on fracked wells within 2,500 of “inhabited structures” such as schools and homes.
“Fracking is destroying our land and our water,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a Feb. 12 tweet. “It is wreaking havoc on our communities’ health. We must do our job to protect our future from the harms caused by the fracking industry.”
Sanders said in a Jan. 31 statement: “Fracking is a danger to our water supply. It’s a danger to the air we breathe, it has resulted in more earthquakes, and it’s highly explosive. To top it all off, it’s contributing to climate change. If we are serious about clean air and drinking water, if we are serious about combating climate change, the only safe and sane way to move forward is to ban fracking nationwide.”
The American Petroleum Institute (API) released a study on Thursday warning that such proposals would have “dire consequences,” including plunging the United States into a recession.
The API’s analysis found that a ban on hydraulic fracturing would eliminate 7.5 million jobs by 2022; cut gross domestic product by $7.1 trillion by 2030; reduce household incomes by $5,400 annually; and increase consumer energy bills by $600 a year.
“American families should be shocked to hear proposals from candidates for high office that would ban this transformative technology, which would erase a generation of American progress and return us to the days of heavy reliance on foreign energy,” said API president and CEO Mike Sommers.
“If I were to tell you of a technology that would lower our trade deficit, lower costs for American consumers, have key environmental benefits, and improve our national security, most politicians would embrace that technology,” said Sommers. “Unfortunately, on the campaign trail today, we’re hearing a lot of presidential candidates doing exactly opposite.”
Four Democratic presidential primary contenders — Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Steyer — have said they would support or implement a fracking ban, while the rest of the field backs a moratorium on public lands.
Last year, Warren declared she would “ban fracking everywhere” on her first day in the White House with an executive order that would place a moratorium on fossil-fuel leases offshore and on federal lands.
The API study “capped a week that saw industry officials fuel a pro-fracking offensive to counter the Left’s mounting campaign against the 60-year-old extraction technology that spurred the shale revolution and is used in 95 percent of new U.S. wells,” Valerie Richardson noted in a Feb. 27 report for The Washington Times.
The Western Energy Alliance took out a full-page ad Monday in The New York Times signed by 54 industry executives saying it would be “criminal not to produce oil and natural gas.”
“Sen. Sanders calls us criminal and Vice President [Joseph R.] Biden says he would put us in jail, but it would be criminal not to produce the life-sustaining energy that enables a healthy, safe and modern lifestyle,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance.
Energy industry officials dispute the pollution claim, arguing that multiple studies have confirmed fracking’s safety, and counter that the technology has done more to combat rising atmospheric carbon dioxide than Al Gore and Greta Thunberg combined.
Richardson noted that the United States “leads the world in reducing greenhouse gases — U.S. emissions dropped by 2.9 percent in 2019 — thanks primarily to the replacement of coal-fired power plants with those fueled by natural gas, which has become both more abundant and cheaper as a result of hydraulic fracturing.”
The API economic analysis conducted by the economic-modeling firm OnLocation found that farmers would be especially hard-hit by a fracking ban, suffering a 43 percent reduction in income as a result of higher energy costs.
After recently becoming for the first time a net exporter of oil and petroleum products, the United States would be forced to revert to foreign sources, importing more than 40 percent of its supplies by 2030, the API said.
“You can’t eliminate the very technology that has enabled the American energy revolution without damaging economic consequences,” said Lessly Goudarzi, founder and CEO of OnLocation. “As our analysis shows, assuming a full ban on fracking would threaten a U.S. recession and force American consumers to rely more on foreign energy rather than energy produced here in the U.S.”
The five states that would suffer the most severe job losses would be Texas (1,103,000), California (765,000), Florida (711,000), Pennsylvania (551,000) and Ohio (500,000), for a total of 3.6 million job losses in 2022.
“One of the reasons why we wanted to demonstrate what the economic consequences are with this study is to help educate the American people what it actually means not just one someone else’s job, but their job,” said Sommers. “The effects of a fracking ban wouldn’t just affect energy workers, it would affect those that rely on energy. That’s everyone.”