Frack-Checking Joe Biden
Joe Biden has made it clear that he was for fracking before he was against it. Forget the cognitive testing — the cognitive dissonance of the incoherent policies his puppet masters are feeding him though his earpiece is enough to disqualify him for the presidency and may doom him politically in key states like Pennsylvania just as Hillary Clinton's pledge to bankrupt a lot of coal companies doomed her.
Banning fossil fuels and killing the energy independence Trump achieved before the Wuhan virus pandemic would kill the American economy and future hopes for recovery. It is said a little child shall lead us, and a little child named AOC wants to lead us and a President Biden over the economic cliff. She, and Biden running mate Kamala Harris, may only succeed in pushing Biden over the political cliff as voters realize that solar panels and wind turbines are not all that good at creating jobs in the gray skies of winter.
Joe Biden's emergence from his basement bunker soon went off the rails when in Western Pennsylvania he claimed he never said he would ban fracking. Where does he think his environmental czar, AOC, stands, and what does he think the policy compact he signed with socialist Bernie Sanders says? What does he think the Green New Deal is all about? And certainly Kamala Harris, whom Biden picked to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, is as anti-fracking as they come.
As PJ Media's Matt Margolis notes in a video montage, Biden has repeatedly pledged to ban fracking and end the use of fossil fuels, even if it costs millions of American jobs. Personnel is policy, the saying goes, and his reliance on Bernie Sanders, AOC, and Kamala Harris for guidance on energy policy shows exactly where he stands. As Paul Kengor notes in the American Spectator, this may doom him politically as the bitter clingers of Pennsylvania and other energy-rich states catch on:
Two months ago, Donald Trump's numbers in Pennsylvania didn't look good. Now, given this sudden grassroots groundswell, I'm convinced Biden is the one in trouble. That's no B.S. And it's Biden's leftward lurch that has hurt him, especially with the highly ill-advised pick of Kamala Harris, who folk in this area see as a West Coast leftist whose "progressive" bona fides include an unwavering opposition to fracking. ...
"[Pennsylvania] is one of the most robust economies in the country," Jeff Nobers, executive director of the Builders Guild of Western Pa., told the New York Times. "And it's mostly fueled by, yeah, the gas industry, the burgeoning petrochemical industry, manufacturing." The Times also quoted Jim Kunz, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66: "I can tell you, in 2010, my local was at about 10% unemployment. Natural gas started to come here in about 2010. Within a year to a year and a half, we went from 10% unemployment to actually over-employment. I had to look for people. We went to full employment, and we've been at or near full employment, and occasionally over employed. ... If we end up with a Democratic candidate that supports a fracking ban, I am going to tell my members that they either don't vote or vote for the other guy."
Pennsylvania workers realize this. Pennsylvania citizens realize this. Pennsylvania voters realize this[.] ...
Says Shawn Steffe, business agent for Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh: "Biden needs to steer his car out of the far-left ditch back to the middle if he wants us to support him. It's not happening. I don't see my members voting for someone who will take away their jobs and pensions over something that has a lot of half-truths to it." Steffe, 53 years old, is a lifelong Democrat who voted for Trump in 2016 and intends to again in 2020.
Be afraid; be very afraid. According to a 2016 report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the economy would suffer dramatically if lawmakers banned fracking:
"A fracking ban would be a disaster for the U.S. economy, exceeding the economic harm caused by the financial crisis, the housing bust, and the Great Recession — combined," the report said. "Those concurrent events cost the United States around 8 million jobs. A ban on fracturing would destroy more than 14 million jobs, all while raising costs for families and considerably reducing American energy security."
A 2019 report by the National Association of State Energy officials noted that thanks to fracking, the natural gas industry employed directly some 625,000 Americans in good, high-paying jobs. The consequences of a fracking ban would be economically devastating. According to the Washington Free Beacon:
The spike in energy prices would raise the cost of living by $4,000 a year, and household incomes would drop by $873 billion. The report concluded the U.S. gross domestic product would be reduced by $1.6 trillion.
Texas (1,499,000 jobs lost), Pennsylvania (466,000), Ohio (397,000), and Colorado (215,000) would see more than a combined 2.5 million jobs lost from a fracking ban alone over that span, the report said, taking into consideration its effect on energy prices, incomes, manufacturing, and energy security[.]
Fracking is a big deal well beyond Pennsylvania, with huge electoral implications. According to the American Petroleum Institute:
In 2022, job losses under a fracking ban could total 7.5 million — or 4.8% of total U.S. jobs — with nearly 2.5 million jobs lost in Texas, California and Florida. Other top states for job losses as a share of overall employment include North Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Louisiana, West Virginia and Kansas.
Fracking does not cause earthquakes. Nor does it taint well water. The mixture used to fracture shale is in fact a benign blend of 90% water, 9.5% sand, and 0.5% chemicals such as the sodium chloride of table salt and the citric acid of the orange juice you had for breakfast.
Shale formations in which fracking is employed are thousands of feet deep. Drinking water aquifers are generally only 100 feet deep. There is a lot of solid rock between them.
It is fracking that has produced a boom in the production of natural gas, a fossil fuel that has produced a significant reduction in the U.S. of so-called "greenhouse gases." As the Washington Times recently reported:
White House senior advisor Brian Deese cheered the falling carbon dioxide levels at a Monday press conference without mentioning the outsize role played by natural gas, as the cleaner-burning fuel increasingly overtakes coal in electricity generation.
"For those of you who are not breathlessly following the most recent data that has come out, I would note recent data that we've seen suggests or finds that for the first half of 2016, energy sector emissions in the United States are actually down 6 percent from last year, and 15 percent from 2005," said Mr. Deese. "And they're at their lowest level in nearly 20 years."
He said nothing about the U.S. natural gas boom, an omission that critics say has become par for the course as the Obama administration highlights renewable energy and emissions restrictions without acknowledging the role of fracking in natural gas extraction.
"To add dishonesty to injury, his administration is bragging about the reduced CO2 emissions of [the] U.S. industry without crediting the fracking for natural gas, a fossil fuel, that largely caused it," said Alex Epstein, author of the book "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels."
The Democrats have no case, moral or otherwise, for banning fracking, which would ironically hurt the environment they allegedly want to heal while creating an economic collapse. If they insist on advocating, they will be caught between shale rock and a hard place.
Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor's Business Daily and free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.