ICYMI Delaware Valley Journal Opinion: Fetterman’s Fracking Ban is Wrong for Pennsylvania

Full opinion piece from Delaware Valley Journal available here or below.

It is pretty rare that a candidate for the United States Senate would pledge to kill one of his state’s key industries. Many would call it cold-hearted or out of touch. Some might even say it’s political suicide. John Fetterman? He’d call it a “platform.”

Just this week, comments that Fetterman made during his ill-fated 2016 run for Senate resurfaced. He said, “If we did things right in this state, we wouldn’t have fracking,” calling a critical segment of Pennsylvania’s economy “a stain on our state.”

Fetterman’s callous disregard for the Pennsylvanians who work in the natural gas industry is breathtaking. His ban would immediately upend their livelihoods, leaving them without a paycheck and with few prospects for finding work elsewhere. But the fallout would not end there.

Natural gas development has lifted up all Pennsylvanians, raising home values while attracting workers and investment to the state. One restaurant owner said that a fracking ban would be “disastrous” to her business, too. Already, Pennsylvania families are barely scraping by as inflation eats away at their paychecks month after month. To add in a fracking ban would be just plain cruel.

Fetterman is obviously wrong to advocate for policies that would cripple so many Pennsylvania families. His comments indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of energy policy. The fact is, fracking is a clean way to secure our energy future. As natural gas production and consumption increase, total U.S greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 20 percent since 2005.

Even better, fracking has repeatedly been shown to reduce energy costs — this is especially important as prices continue to spiral out of control. A 2020 study found that a fracking ban would increase annual household energy costs by over $600 per year. Another report by the University of Pennsylvania found that fracking could reduce the long-run volatility of oil prices by up to 42 percent. To leave these savings on the table for the sake of advancing an incoherent far-left environmental agenda would be malpractice.

Producing our energy at home is about more than simple economics, though. It’s imperative for our national security. Just look to Europe, where reliance on Russian gas could lead to rationing in the wake of the war in Ukraine. In an era of more intense global competition, a strong domestic energy supply will undoubtedly be critical if we are called on to defend our nation.

One might think Fetterman’s ban proposal is out of line with national Democrats. Nope. Opposition to fracking is simply another front in Joe Biden’s war on American energy. His administration has halted oil and gas leases on federal land, made production far more costly, and asked for billions in tax increases on energy producers. They brag about sky-high gas prices accelerating the “transformation” to $67,000 electric vehicles, sneering at regular folks who suffer at the pump. And instead of lowering prices at home, Biden shipped more than 5 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve overseas—including to China. Put it all together, and the average American family has seen its energy costs increase by almost $1,500 since Biden took office.

Contrast that with the record of the Trump administration, where I served. During his term, the U.S. was the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. For the first time in over 70 years, we were energy independent, ending our reliance on foreign energy imports. We pursued an “all-of-the-above” strategy, harnessing the totality of our energy resources—including oil, gas, nuclear, and renewables—to strengthen our production capacity while working to protect the environment. And gas prices barely topped $3 per gallon. We set out the blueprint for a strong American energy policy. It’s a shame the Democrats tore it up.

The bottom line? Fetterman’s fracking ban is wrong on every front, but I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Economic illiteracy and love for government overreach are staples of every Bernie Sanders acolyte.

Maybe Fetterman should consider that fracking isn’t the real stain on Pennsylvania — he is.

Mandy Gunasekara is a senior policy analyst for the Independent Women’s Voice and former chief of staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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