The “fracking” revolution has unleashed an incredible American energy boom over the past decade. America is now the biggest producer of oil and gas in the world, beating Saudi Arabia and Russia. Fracking has contributed to an economic revival in areas of the country once in freefall. Pennsylvania is now second only to Texas in natural gas production, and Ohio is now fifth. This has reduced air pollution by displacing coal.
Joe Biden wants a counter-revolution, but he does not want you to know about it.
Candidate Joe Biden has sent mixed messages. During the primary debates, Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, said they supported a fracking ban. Their campaign, however, insists that the Biden plan would ban fracking only on federal lands, not on private lands. Fact checkers regularly parrot the talking point.
For the full picture, voters should take a look at Biden’s official clean energy plan. The Biden plan borrows the Green New Deal’s ambitious goal of a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.” Burning natural gas—methane—inevitably emits carbon, so the Biden plan requires eliminating natural gas for electricity generation by 2035.
Electricity generation is the main use of natural gas. It accounts for a third of all natural gas, using 11 trillion cubic feet of gas per year and growing. That is almost twice the amount of natural gas produced in all of Pennsylvania last year. Eliminating all this natural gas demand by 2035 would require idling countless natural gas wells and power plants, devastating local economies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere and destroying many good jobs. Without reliable natural gas electricity, states would experience California-like rolling blackouts.
This Green New Deal goal would never get congressional approval, but that may not matter. Biden promises to achieve his clean energy goals by fiat, issuing executive orders of “unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform.” A Biden administration would move to achieve its goal of “carbon-free” electricity generation through an even more aggressive version of President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” regulations. This Clean Power Plan 2.0 would require utilities to idle, then dismantle, their natural gas power plants.
President Trump’s accusation that Joe Biden would ban fracking is therefore closer to the truth than the fact checkers care to admit. It does not take a master’s degree in communications or journalism to realize that a ban on using natural gas is a ban on extracting it, whether through fracking or through ordinary drilling. That’s the Biden plan.
President Trump, for his part, has been crystal clear: if reelected, he will continue vigorously supporting America’s energy revolution, inexpensive energy, and jobs, as he has for four years.