Bernie’s Fracking Ban Would Harm the Economy, Environment, and Election Chances
Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont is up to more mischief besides running for president and snoring his way through the Senate impeachment trial. The Hill Newspaper is reporting that Bernie has filed a bill that would ban fracking. Sanders tweeted about the bill and included a video of actor and environmental extremist Mark Ruffalo talking about the federal ban.
“I don’t mind if @MarkRuffalo spoils his own movies. But please, don’t ruin the surprise of our new legislation with Rep. @AOC, @SenJeffMerkley and @RepDarrenSoto. I don’t want the dirty fracking industry CEOs to know what hit them.”
Not surprisingly, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, Bernie’s fellow socialist and campaign wingman, is a co-sponsor of the bill. The text of the bill is currently unavailable, but presumably, it does as the title suggests, bans hydraulic fracking.
Fracking is a method of extracting oil and natural gas from shale formations that involve injecting fluids to force the fossil fuel product to the surface. Fracking has transformed America’s energy economy to such an extent that the United States has become an oil and gas exporter. The dark times of being subjected to oil embargos and price shocks because of turmoil in the Middle East are now distant memories.
According to a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry is not amused. “Banning a safe, successful method of developing energy would erase a generation of American energy progress and in the process destroy millions of U.S. jobs, spike household energy costs and hurt farmers and manufacturers.”
Aside from all of those things, a ban on fracking would be a wonderful idea. Bernie and others who are pushing the Green New Deal want to ban not only fracking but all oil and gas drilling, the theory being that only then America would turn to renewable energy, primarily wind and solar. Thus, climate change due to greenhouse gasses would be eliminated and civilization would be saved, albeit much the worst for wear.
Fox Business noted that a study conducted by the Global Energy Institute suggested that a fracking ban would cost 14.8 million American jobs. The Sanders campaign dismisses the analysis, claiming that part of the ban would involve five years of public assistance for displaced oil and gas workers.
Other analysts have noted that Bernie’s fracking ban would harm the environment, at least in the short term. The reason is that natural gas is a relatively clean-burning fossil fuel. Cheap natural gas, brought on by fracking, has displaced dirtier ways of creating energy, particularly coal.
Bernie’s master plan also ignores an emerging technology called carbon capture. Forbes notes an experimental prototype power plant now operating in La Porte, Texas that does not emit any carbon dioxide. Instead, the plant, operated by NET Energy, uses the CO2 to turn the turbines and then sequesters it for later sale to industrial users. Sanders has dismissed carbon capture as an environmentally benign approach since it preserves the fossil fuel industry.
Most ominous of all, from the point of view of Democrats, Bernie’s fracking ban is an election loser. New York Magazine notes that Pennsylvania Democrats have concluded that any presidential candidate who supports a fracking ban, such as Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, is likely to lose the state to President Donald Trump. Too many union workers would lose their jobs under the plan and would vote for their economic interests.
The Trump administration, by contrast, has encouraged fracking as a means of strengthening the American economy and achieving energy independence. Trump’s promise to unleash domestic American energy production from the restrictions of the Obama era was rewarded with plenty of votes of energy states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, key states that the president captured in 2016. His success promises to reap similar dividends, in the view of political pundits, in 2020.
Bernie is undaunted by the facts surrounding his fracking ban proposal. Fracking, in his view, is “dirty” and must be eliminated forthwith. He intends to run on the proposal, painting the oil and gas industry as “enemies of the people.” Sanders’ energy and environmental proposals are seen as so radical that they are certain to doom any chance he might have of being elected president.