Democratic Presidential Frontrunner Joe Biden Doubles Down on Plan to Ban Fracking on Public Lands
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s renewed push for a fracking ban on federal lands – which numerous studies show would eliminate jobs and threaten state budgets – comes as the industry deals with a sudden drop in commodity prices and global economic turmoil around the Coronavirus.
In spite of these events, Biden’s comments during the recent Democratic presidential debate gave the impression he may consider even further measures to prohibit all new fracking across the country:
“Number one, no more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, no more drilling on federal lands, no more drilling, including offshore, no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one.”
“No more — no new fracking.”
In fact, there was enough confusion surrounding his statement that his campaign was forced to walk it back after the debate and double down on his previous announcements to ban this process on public lands as detailed on his campaign website.
Breaking: The #Biden2020 campaign confirms to me that Biden was “restating his policy as it relates to public lands.” Reminder that his plan calls for “banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.” #DemDebate2020 #Election2020 #energy #fracking #ClimateChange https://t.co/V0cqwj2fFJ
— Ben Geman (@Ben_Geman) March 16, 2020
Biden has scored major wins at the ballot box in the Democratic presidential primary during the last two weeks, greatly increasing his chances of securing the nomination and moving another step closer to the White House.
Yet, a ban on public lands and further attacks on the oil and natural gas could undercut support for Biden in the general election because of the strong economic gains and tax revenue the industry delivers.
Biden’s Unrealistic Energy Plans
Despite his campaign’s quick response to clarify Biden’s statement, it actually wasn’t the first time his comments have appeared to support more drastic measures.
For instance, in September Biden said:
“I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels and I am not going to cooperate with them. Before 2050, God willing.”
Biden has even said that he wants oil and gas workers to transition out of the industry despite the industry’s record of high-pay and strong economic growth generated in the sector.
A Global Energy Institute report showed that a fracking ban would lead to a $7.1 trillion reduction to U.S. GDP, $1.9 trillion in lost tax revenue, skyrocketing gasoline prices and energy costs, and more than 19 million American workers could lose their jobs by 2025.
And states like New Mexico could lose out on billions of dollars in tax revenue if Biden banned fracking on public lands – money that’s crucial to fund education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
These unrealistic plans pushed by Biden and other leading political leaders has prompted a wave of stories warning of political dangers.
The New York Times published a story headlined, “In Crucial Pennsylvania, Democrats Worry a Fracking Ban Could Sink Them” and wrote:
“In critical pockets of the country, perhaps none more so than Pennsylvania, the issue of fracking could become vital in the general election, according to union leaders, Democratic politicians and Republican strategists. Potential battleground states where Democrats nurse dreams of winning, like Ohio and Texas, are hotbeds of natural gas — Texas has 137,000 natural gas wells — and Mr. Trump has signaled he hopes for a Republican comeback in New Mexico, another fracking state.”
Similarly, NPR published, “Proposals To Ban Fracking Could Hurt Democrats In Key States,” which said:
“In a swing state like Pennsylvania, a major gas producer, fracking and energy are key issues. Even a small segment of voters swayed one way or another could change the election.”
Joe Biden has firmly established himself as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination and has doubled down on his proposal to ban fracking on public lands – a move that could have dramatic effects on the economy and state budgets. Furthermore, Biden has spoken about banning all oil and natural gas production. It’s a position that could prove costly in the general election.