As a tumultuous 2019 winds down, United States citizens are bracing themselves for what is sure to be one of the most combative Presidential elections in history. Once the mud-slinging and name-calling have been set aside, it seems that the most significant issue being debated is the United States’ energy future.
As the call for climate action gains more traction, several Democratic presidential candidates have jumped on the bandwagon by calling for an outright ban on fracking. Frontrunner Elizabeth Warren explicitly declared that she would institute a coast-to-coast fracking ban on day one of her presidency.
Though these anti-energy declarations may sound good on paper, none of the candidates have given much thought to the very real and immediate fallout that would result from a ban on fracking.
The Worst Recession in History
It’s only natural that ending an economic boom would cause financial hardships. Most Democrats acknowledge that fact even as they brush aside those concerns. What those candidates aren’t considering is the magnitude of economic decline that the United States would suffer.
In 2016, a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated, “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. 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.”
Crippling State Governments
A flat-out ban on fracking would not only cost millions of jobs, but it would also immediately shut off millions of dollars in tax revenue to state governments throughout the country. Such a financial drought would end the dozens of programs funded almost entirely by oil and gas proceeds.
Such programs include a New Mexico initiative to offer tuition-free college or a federal plan to spread more than $150 million between states to improve green spaces and natural parks.
Obama May As Well Have Been a Republican
In their quest to win the White House, the Democrats have, as Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma put it, turned everything up to 11. “You pick a topic,” she continued, “And it’s like President Obama might as well have been a Republican.”
Fortunately for the (literal) millions of Americans watching and waiting to see the outcome of the 2020 election, it may come as some comfort to know that, in addition to curtailing social programs and causing the loss of millions of jobs, it’s also illegal.
Not only would a day-one ban on fracking via executive order be against the rules, but there would also be a legal basis to overturn a rapid increase in federal regulations, as well. In other words, even if these new Democratic campaign pledges were anything other than false promises, there’s no way to accomplish it without stretching the law beyond repair.