With the addition of California Senator Kamala Harris to the ticket with Joe Biden, the Democratic Party carved its anti-oil and gas credentials into stone for 2020 heading into its virtual national convention this week. Harris, a co-sponsor last year of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” has repeatedly bragged about her intention to ban hydraulic fracturing and enforce an array of draconian restrictions on the oil and gas industry should she and her running mate win the election in November.
With a large majority of voters now doubting that the 77 year-old Biden would be able to serve out a full term in office, the positions of the Democrat vice presidential candidate become more important than is normally the case in a presidential election. And it should be noted that, despite his ongoing efforts to walk some of it back, Biden himself promised during the party’s primary debate season to not just ban fracking, but also to halt new leasing on federal lands and waters and to eventually somehow eliminate the use of oil and gas entirely in the U.S.
As documented by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) in June, the official Biden/Harris campaign platform still lists a ban on “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters” as one of Biden’s major goals upon taking office. A recent study commissioned by the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) finds that such a ban would “cost almost 200,000 jobs, deny the U.S. government billions of revenue dollars, and push offshore production to other countries.” That’s just the impact of a permit ban in the Gulf of Mexico, which currently accounts for about 15% of domestic oil production and only about 3% of U.S. natural gas production.
The ban on fracking coveted by Biden/Harris and their anti-development supporters would obviously be far more impactful, given that it would essentially shut down new drilling in the nation’s prolific shale formations that account for well over half of all domestic oil and gas production today. That promised ban also flies in the face of Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan whose ostensible goal is to revitalize American manufacturing industries and bring production and jobs back to the United States.
Ironically, this is a goal the Trump administration has been achieving for the past 3-1/2 years, prior to the impacts of COVID-19, following a quarter century of U.S. manufacturing decline, including the 8 years of the Obama/Biden administration. Biden/Harris won’t admit it, but the mass production of natural gas from America’s shale plays has been a big driver of the recent manufacturing renaissance, given that so many manufacturing processes rely on affordable natural gas and its by-products as feedstock.
A ban on hydraulic fracturing would immediately result in skyrocketing natural gas prices, and a new flight of those manufacturing jobs back overseas. This is not speculation – it’s an inevitable outcome.
The Biden/Harris energy plan emphasizes the continuing and increasing subsidization of wind and solar as oil, gas and coal are banned or phased out of existence. As IER points out, this leads to severe national security concerns given that China currently controls between 80 and 90 percent of the global market for rare earth minerals that are key to the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines. Further, “over 70 percent of all mined cobalt needed in the electric vehicle industry comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and most of that cobalt is controlled by China.”
Here we see a key decision point voters will face in this election: We can either continue to restore U.S. manufacturing industries and bringing jobs back to our country, or we can go back to farming it all out to China. That is the clear distinction between the Trump/Pence energy platform and the Biden/Harris platform.
In an email, Dan Kish, Senior Vice President for the American Energy Alliance (AEA) characterized the Biden/Harris energy plan in stark terms: “Joe Biden’s energy policy is ‘Make Red China Great.’ Instead of using America’s God-given energy that has made us the largest oil and gas producer in the world and energy independent for the first time in 70 years, Joe’s program would cost trillions of tax dollars and trillions more in increased energy prices for Americans to buy Chinese Solar Panels, Windmill parts and batteries. Along the way, his Green Energy donors who import Chinese products will get even richer by feasting on the shattered dreams of working Americans.
“His promise to sign the US up to the UN’s Paris Deal which leaves China to do whatever they want for 10 years as their coal consumption skyrockets to dizzying heights to run factories making solar panels Joe would subsidize means further misery for working American men and women as they would pay more and more for energy while China gets a free pass, while they labor at jobs made scarce by higher energy costs.”
None of this will be said during this week’s convention or the national media’s coverage of it. But that really is what is at stake in this election where energy is concerned. It is a very clear choice.