Today, Iowans will officially begin the presidential primary process with their first-in-the-nation caucuses. According to the latest polls, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leads the pack of top candidates, which also include former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Whichever way the Iowa caucus-goers vote, they will be supporting a candidate who has promised to ban fracking, which will kill millions of blue-collar jobs and make energy costs skyrocket.
Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders officially introduced a bill to ban fracking. Senator Warren has promised to “ban fracking everywhere” and would implement this promise on day one her administration via executive order. Former VP Biden has flip-flopped on an explicit ban but his campaign has laid out a war on natural gas akin to the Obama Administration’s war on coal that would slowly choke-out the industry with a barrage of costly and complex regulations.
Additionally, Biden has made clear that achieving his climate agenda would require sacrificing hundreds of thousands of blue-collar jobs in the oil and gas industry and he’s totally okay with it.
Given the vociferous promise of the three leading contenders, it’s important to understand what a fracking ban would actually do. One recent study put it simply: a ban on fracking in the United States would be catastrophic for our economy. By 2025 it would eliminate 19 million jobs and reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product by $7.1 trillion. This loss of jobs and economic growth would also substantially cut into tax revenues – up to $1.9 trillion – that has become an important source of funding for schools, critical infrastructure like roads and bridges, and emergency services.
When it comes to energy costs, natural gas would increase by 324 percent producing electricity bills 4 times more expensive than they are today. Oil prices would rise to $130 per barrel meaning Americans could pay twice as much for gasoline or diesel at the pump. While these increased energy costs would be cutting deeper into our pocketbooks, we would have less expendable money as a fracking ban would cut household incomes by $3.7 trillion nationwide.
As if the job-killing, cost-increasing impacts of a fracking ban aren’t bad enough, it would actually undermine our world-leading progress in reducing greenhouse gases. The increased use of natural gas enabled by modern hydraulic fracturing is why the United States has reduced greenhouse gases by 15 percent, which is more than any other country in the world.
In other words, Democrat presidential contenders proposed bans on hydraulic fracturing would undermine our environmental progress and cause significant harm to many American families in the form of lost jobs, increased prices at the pump and more expensive electricity bills.
The reality is that modern hydraulic fracturing technologies have unleashed a wave of opportunity all across this country. It’s made the United States an energy superpower while also maintaining the highest bar of environmental protection and progress. Hydraulic fracturing is not a technology that should be banned, but rather celebrated.