Democrats don’t give a frack about American workers
Despite clear and convincing evidence that hydraulic fracturing is a safe way to extract oil and natural gas from previously unreachable deposits, attacks on fracking have grown harsher.
At a recent Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said that under the restrictions she’d like to impose, “I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”
Bernie Sanders was more blunt: “No, I do not support fracking.” When the moderator pointed out that even many Democratic governors do, Sanders said they were just wrong.
With their blind opposition, elite Democrats and other radical environmental activists are endangering America’s economy — and ignoring science. Fracking — that is, injecting fluid into shale rock to extract oil and natural gas — is an enormous boon to American workers. And it’s safe.
Thanks to fracking, in 2014 America became the world leader in oil and natural gas production. For the first time since 1970, we only import a quarter of the oil we use. In the America of Clinton and Sanders, the U.S. will again become dependent on foreign sources of energy.
From 2007-12, fracking jobs grew 40 percent while the rest of the private sector grew at just a 1 percent annual rate. Fracking supports about 2.1 million jobs. In the fracking-free America of Clinton and Sanders, those jobs are gone.
American households gained on average $1,200 from fracking in 2012, thanks to increased income from reduced energy costs. According to IHS, these same households could be saving up to $3,500 a year by 2025. In the America of Clinton and Sanders, incomes will decline and energy prices will rise.
Projections indicate that from 2012 to 2025, fracking will provide $1.6 trillion in tax revenue to American government at the federal, state and local levels. That’s enough to cover the current federal deficit for almost three years. In the fracking-free America of Clinton and Sanders, government will be starved of a source of revenue that is a product of robust economic activity.
The oil and gas industry adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s GDP every year, and natural gas exports are a big plus on the ledger of America’s trade deficit. In fracking-free America, the economic contraction will run hand-in-hand with a ballooning trade deficit.
Now that President Barack Obama has bankrupted the coal mining industry, Clinton and Sanders have begun targeting natural gas development and production. But it’s naive and downright dangerous to attack sound and proven energy sources of electricity for the progressive pursuit of renewables that can’t meet our energy needs.
Why the hostility to fracking? Many of the complaints have to do with supposed water contamination. But the EPA “did not find evidence” that fracking had “led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”
Like any energy technology, fracking must be employed with care, and nothing is completely risk-free. But there is no reason to ban it, as Sanders would, or regulate it to death, as Clinton would.
Fracking creates jobs, generates tax revenue, reduces the cost of energy and results in lower greenhouse-gas emissions. The risks to local environmental conditions are minimal and can be addressed with reasonable regulation. The fracking-free America of Clinton and Sanders is an America that is much poorer economically and no better off environmentally.
Tom Borelli is a contributor with Conservative Review.