By Rep. Chip Roy
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have been very clear – for years — on their policy positions when it comes to energy. They want to end fracking, upend America’s energy independence and kill high-paying jobs for thousands of Americans.
“I am not banning fracking… no matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me,” Biden said confidently on August 31 to supporters in Pittsburgh. But don’t let him fool you.
During a primary debate in March against Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., when his audience was not Western Pennsylvania, Biden agreed with Sanders’s fracking ban legislation. “No more – no new fracking,” Biden chirped.
That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Months before, he “guaranteed” a young woman in New Hampshire that he would “end fossil fuels” if he became president.
His running mate, Harris echoed a similar sentiment in a primary debate broadcast on CNN, “There’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking.” Instead of embracing the Green New Deal, Harris may want to focus on keeping her constituents’ power on, considering the rolling blackouts affecting millions of Californians this summer.
Why would Biden backpedal on his promises in Pittsburgh? The clearest answer is that hundreds of thousands of families in Pennsylvania depend on the oil and gas industry directly or indirectly to make a living.
Western Pennsylvania is not unique, as the oil and gas industry directly employed 428,234 Texans in 2019. Those numbers don’t account for the indirect employment attributable to oil and gas operations, which PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated at 10.3 million U.S. jobs in 2015.
The concept of a federal fracking ban is not based on economic or even environmental data, it is a shallow policy talking point used by candidates charging to the left to appease the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez base of the Democratic Party.
According to Baker Hughes, nearly 90 percent of all new oil and gas wells drilled today are horizontal, fracked wells – you cannot shut this down without painful geopolitical and economic consequences.
Under the leadership of the Trump administration and my former boss, ex-Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the United States has reached new heights in energy.
We are less dependent now on Middle Eastern and Russian oil and now lead the world in oil and gas production. And even while accomplishing this, since 2005 no country in the world has reduced their CO2 emissions more than the United States, primarily driven by fracked natural gas used in electricity production.
Abundant, affordable energy benefits all Americans. The White House Council of Economic Advisors estimates that increased oil and natural gas production due to the fracking revolution is saving American families a combined $203 billion annually, or around $2,500 per family.
Lower-income households spend a larger proportion of their income on energy bills, so expensive energy and utilities would harm these families more than the private jet elitists lecturing them about carbon footprints.
We can responsibly address environmental concerns and maintain low energy costs by pursuing a comprehensive policy of energy production that focuses on low cost, abundant, clean energy options – including natural gas, oil, nuclear, and renewables.
A competitive marketplace of ideas that does not restrict investment in specific industries will ensure that the United States is prepared to meet the economic and environmental issues of the future.
The pandering positions of Biden and Harris are not simply disingenuous and confusing, they pose a threat to the economic and national security of the United States.
A Biden administration – and those who would openly align with it – would cripple American energy, no matter how many times he dances around the subject.
Republican Chip Roy represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas and is the former first assistant attorney general of Texas.