Industry group warns fracking ban could cost 7.5M jobs in US
The oil industry is pushing back on efforts by progressives to ban fracking, producing an industry-backed study finding such a ban would hurt the economy.
2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation in February that would ban the oil recovery technique, citing environmental concerns.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) study found that a ban on federal leasing and fracking operations could compromise up to 7.5 million jobs in the U.S. by 2022.
According to an analysis released by the group on Thursday, imposing such a ban could result in a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) loss of $7.1 trillion by 2030.
The report cites modeling data from the consulting firm OnLocation showing “the economic impacts that could result from such policies – on the broader economy, national and state employment, and individual households,” adding, “These include the likelihood of triggering a U.S. economic recession and reversing economic and energy security progress.”
Progressives have argued the U.S. should ban fracking due to environmental and public health issues, including contamination of drinking water.
“Fracking is destroying our land and our water,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter when the bill was introduced. “It is wreaking havoc on our communities’ health. We must do our job to protect our future from the harms caused by the fracking industry.”
But API warned that a reduction in fracked oil and gas for the market could increase costs on consumers.
It warns that a fracking ban could cause natural gas prices to increase by 58 percent due to a heavier reliance on foreign energy products, as well as the costs of farming crops such as wheat rising 64 percent due to higher energy costs.
“American families should be shocked to hear proposals from candidates for high office that would ban this transformative technology, which would erase a generation of American progress and return us to the days of heavy reliance on foreign energy,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers said in a statement.
Sommers touted fracking technology as a tool for reducing the U.S. trade deficit and increasing American jobs, as well as calling it a way to “help the environment,” despite environmental groups’ opposition to the practice.
Updated at 4:26 p.m.
Rebecca Beitsch contributed reporting.