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Biden’s fracking ban will derail environmental and economic gains

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In the midst of an international pandemic, and on a debate stage eerily surrounded by empty seats, Joe Biden couldn’t resist revealing his true feelings about America’s energy future.

For the second time during the Democratic debate series, Biden recently told the television audience that if he’s elected president he will move to ban fracking.

With an economy staggered by the virus outbreak, most Americans are looking for ways to strengthen our economy, keep people in good-paying jobs, and bolster national security.

In his zest to fit in with the elite cool kids and grab a headline, Biden apparently forgot fracking has delivered all those things for us. 

The natural gas and oil industry supports roughly 10 million American jobs, provides $714 billion in labor income and contributes more than a $1 trillion to our GDP. The industry has innovated with disruptive technology at warp speed. 

Because of fracking, America is now the world’s top producer of natural gas and oil. For the first time in 60 years, we’re exporting more than we import. We broke OPEC’s back. We severed Russia and Iran’s energy hegemony. Chinese aggression and global ambitions now must contemplate this new American strategic advantage.   

As a result of our abundant natural gas, our heating bills have dropped dramatically. So too have our power bills since natural gas generates more than a third of U.S. electricity. 

American households are saving more than $200 billion each year because of increased domestic production. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, that means savings of $2,500 every year for a family of four. Compare those savings — delivered to every American man, woman and child — to the forced subsidization we all must pay to so-called renewables.   

Imagine the impact on hard-working families if Biden had his way. Think of the devastation to them and our economy. Consider what it would mean to once again be dependent on foreign energy. Or worse yet, on Chinese rare earth miners and state-subsidized solar panel manufacturers under inane schemes such as the Green New Deal.

I live in Pennsylvania, a state that has emerged as the nation’s second largest producer of natural gas, accounting for 20 percent of total U.S. natural gas and a third of its shale gas. Here in my little corner of America, the safe and responsible development of natural gas through fracking has provided a tremendous economic boost, with individuals and families reaping the benefits. It’s also been unquestionably good for our environment, reducing a spectrum of emissions and our carbon footprint in ways unforeseen prior to the natural gas revolution. 

Pennsylvania’s carbon footprint has decreased by 22 percent since the fracking boom began. Nationwide, during that period, our carbon footprint was reduced by almost 15 percent while the economy grew at 20 percent. That powerful combination was achieved by free enterprise and without huge government mandates.

If Pennsylvania were a country, we’d be the only developed nation well on its way to meeting the Paris Climate Accord targets. Government central planners didn’t do that. American ingenuity and entrepreneurship did that. 

Pennsylvania and neighboring Appalachian states are blessed with an enviable army of skilled blue-collar workers. The well-muscled arms of the forerunners of these workers built the nation. Today their unmatched work ethic, coupled with a resurgent and hi-tech manufacturing sector, and fueled by an innovative natural gas industry, is reshaping the region to benefit all of us for generations. 

Sadly, Joe Biden has allowed himself to be pulled closer to the abyss by the far left of his party. Advocating an end to fracking, drilling and developing our own energy resources will kill American jobs, derail our economy, make us once again dependent on foreign oil and undermine our national security. His policies expose elite disdain for the working men and women toiling in fly-over states between the coasts.

He’s been snookered into supporting the Green New Deal and the mythical zero carbon economy. The first wrecks the economy and the second is an impossibility under the laws of thermodynamics. Neither solves anything with climate, but both favor rent-seeking ventures that can’t make it on their own and Chinese industry.  

That’s a slap in the face to American steelworkers, building and trade unionists, drillers and the middle class — who, like many other Americans, already are suffering the consequences of a pandemic-ravaged economy. That’s also a severely strategically compromised U.S., which would be dependent on a Chinese supply chain spanning from rare earth minerals to our own kilowatt-hours.   

Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, may not have taken the time to calculate the potential political cost of his anti-domestic energy schemes. Recent studies project huge job losses if a fracking ban were imposed, especially in swing states such as Texas (1.1 million), Florida (711,000) Pennsylvania (551,000) and Ohio (500,000).

Good policy is good politics. Biden’s proposals to undermine our economy, cost our citizens their jobs and diminish our quality of life are neither. 

Nick DeIuliis is president and CEO of CNX Resources Corporation, one of the largest independent natural gas exploration, development and production companies, with operations centered in the major shale formations of the Appalachian basin.  

Tags energy independence Hydraulic fracturing Joe Biden Natural gas Shale gas

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