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Prominent 2020 Democratic candidates have proposed fracking bans that could trigger a recession and leave millions of Americans without work, a trade association for the oil and gas industry said on Thursday.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) predicted that a ban on fracking and new oil leases would reduce GDP by $7.1 trillion by 2030, cost the economy 7.5 million jobs by 2022, and cause an average household income decline of $5,040. While energy consumption would decline by 12 percent, energy costs will purportedly increase by 14 percent.
API’s estimates were released two days before South Carolina’s Democratic primary, where the candidates will compete with platforms that push aggressive agendas on energy and the environment.
A study released on Wednesday by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) projected that the Green New Deal would also inflict a hefty cost on American voters, finding that swing-state households would face around $75,000 in costs during the first year of the plan’s implementation.
According to API’s estimates, Kansas, North Dakota, Colorado, West Virginia, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and New Mexico would face the most job losses as a share of overall employment.
Texas would see the greatest amount of total job losses (1,103,000), followed by California (765,000) and the battleground states of Florida (711,000), Pennsylvania (551,000), and Ohio (500,000).
Progressives have criticized fracking as a potential source of pollution and dangerous to the environment. Conservatives, however, have defended the practice for its impact on economic and job growth, as well as American energy independence.
In November, then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry told Fox News in November that American fracking had also helped loosen Russia’s grip on Europe’s energy supply.
“Not only are they not held hostage by Russian gas, they’re also saving money,” he told Fox News’ Ed Henry at the time. That same month, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said a ban on fracking would “not be a good thing for the economy.”
Both API and energy consulting firm OnLocation Inc. credited fracking with massive changes in America’s energy supply. “You can’t eliminate the very technology that has enabled the American energy revolution without damaging economic consequences,” said Lessly Goudarzi, founder and CEO of OnLocation, Inc.
Progressives like Sanders have generally countered conservative arguments by claiming that energy reforms would improve economic conditions.
On Tuesday, Sanders released more details about how he proposed to pay for his version of the Green New Deal, which he says would cost $16.3 trillion. According to the campaign, $3.085 trillion of that amount would come from penalizing the fossil fuel industry “for their pollution” and from eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.
Sanders also warned that without action on climate change, the U.S. will “lose $34.5 trillion by the end of the century” and predicted savings as high as $70.4 trillion over 80 years by “averting climate catastrophe.”