Fracking Bans Harm Middle-Class Families, Union Jobs, Environment

In the height of political campaigns, it’s often hard to separate fact and fiction. This is especially true as it relates tightly-regulated, job-creating natural gas development.

Despite what some political candidates say, hydraulic fracturing is a safe, proven technology that is delivering energy savings for American families and manufacturers. What’s more, greater natural gas is improving our environment as America has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions more than any other nation.

For Pennsylvania, natural gas supports tens-of-thousands of good paying jobs. In fact, union leaders have called natural gas a “godsend” and “lifeline to family-supporting jobs.”

  • Jim Kunz, Local 66 International Union of Operating Engineers: The natural-gas industry has been a godsend, helping to boost jobs with family-supporting pay and good benefits. Our hardworking and proud union members are very fortunate for the opportunities afforded by shale as well as the manufacturing and consumer-savings benefits tied to this historic energy revolution.” (Post-Gazette op-ed, 7/27/15)
  • Dennis Martire, Laborers’ International Union of North America: “Shale has become a new economic engine for our state, supporting energy infrastructure projects that have brought new opportunity to thousands of residents, and increased the energy independence of our entire country. … For the more than 25,000 members of the LiUNA in Pa., and thousands of other workers across our state, these projects are not just pipelines. They are also a lifeline to family-supporting jobs.” (Delaware Co. Times op-ed, 7/19/15)
  • Sean McGarvey, President North America’s Building Trades Unions: “American domestic energy development enables [our union] to provide structured career-training opportunities in the skilled trades to historically neglected populations, including urban young people, women, communities of color and our nation’s military veterans.” (Huffington Post op-ed, 6/1/15)

Yet some are calling for energy development bans, which, as MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer told WBRE-TV recently, would “eliminate a vital supply of energy that we need to meet the needs of our citizens.”

Here’s what they’re saying:

Proven, Well-Regulated Technology

  • Fracking is a “Perfectly Safe Method”: Not that Sanders isn’t just as silly: He’s working the equally bogus threat of fracking — a perfectly safe method of extracting oil and gas that’s turned America into an energy superpower. Sanders actually has an ad up spreading the “poisoning of the water” canard — debunked by no less than the Obama-run EPA. It’s an utterly unscientific pander to the ignorant prejudices of his gentry-liberal core supporters. (NY Daily News editorial, 4/12/16)
  • “A Fracking Ban Could Hurt Consumers Nationwide as Well as Pennsylvanians”: , which votes on April 26, allows fracking; it has created tens of thousands of jobs and revitalized the state’s economy. … Shale-gas created about 60,000 jobs in the state from 2007 to 2014. One study estimates that per-capita income increased from 12 percent to 19 percent in counties with wells, versus only 8 percent in counties without them. A fracking ban could hurt consumers nationwide as well as Pennsylvanians. The majority of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, air conditioning or cooking. In the last decade, fracking has resulted in a 40 percent increase in gas production and a 70 percent decrease in prices. … State fracking bans would reduce shale-gas supply and push up fossil-fuel prices, to the detriment of lower-income households. (Bloomberg View, 4/12/16)

Environmental Benefits

  • “Fracking Has Reduced Greenhouse Gases”: As a nation, the S. reduced its carbon emissions by 2 percent from last year. Over the past 14 years, our carbon emissions are down more than 10 percent. On a per-unit-of-GDP basis, U.S. carbon emissions are down by closer to 20 percent. Even more stunning: we’ve reduced our carbon emissions more than virtually any other nation in the world, including most of Europe. … The primary reason carbon emissions are falling is because of hydraulic fracturing. … Fracking is simply a new way to get at America’s vast storehouse of tens of trillions of dollars worth of shale. … So here is the real story in a flash: thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling technologies, we are producing more natural gas than ever before. Natural gas is a wonder fuel: it is cheap. It is abundant. America has more of it than anyone else – we have several hundred years worth of natural gas. And it is clean-burning. (Tribune-Review op-ed, 4/10/16)
  • “Fracking is Good for [the] Economy and the Environment”: Contrary to the claims of some environmental activists, much of the reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in recent years hasn’t been the result of increased regulation, but is instead the product of natural gas replacing coal in electric generation. Thanks to fracking, natural gas has become far cheaper. And since natural gas is cleaner burning than coal, its use in power generation has reduced atmospheric emissions. … Whether environmental activists like it or not, fracking is good for [the] economy and the environment. (The Oklahoman editorial, 4/13/16)
  • “America Leads the World in Carbon-Emissions Reduction” Thanks to Fracking: The American shale revolution has advanced three causes dear to most liberals’ hearts. First, fracking has allowed America to lead the world in carbon-emissions reduction. … Second, fracking fights poverty and reduces inequality. … Lower energy prices are even more important in poorer nations, where consumers spend a higher percentage of gross domestic product on energy than richer ones. … Third, a spike in oil and gas prices would put hundreds of billions of dollars in the pockets of the rulers of petrostates. Life in countries like Russia, Angola and Iran reads like a list of everything liberals hate: political corruption and oppression, authoritarian leaders and abominable records on women’s, gay and minority rights. A ban on fracking is not just about whether to drill in New York State, but also about the oil-fueled power of a Middle Eastern king to resist domestic reform and how that power can be checked by rising American oil and gas production. (New York Times op-ed, 4/11/16)

Consumer, Manufacturing Benefits

  • Energy Hub Could Bring “New Prosperity [and] Thousands of Jobs”: If we can build pipelines that greatly increase the flow of natural gas from Marcellus Shale operations to the Phila. area, the region can emerge as an important energy hub that brings new prosperity to by creating thousands of jobs in construction and industries that rely on natural gas and its byproducts. If it sounds like a pipe dream, no pun intended, it is not. The amount of gas within the Marcellus Shale areas is huge and could last for centuries, even if tapped at high volumes. … But, if pipelines were built to go from the gas field to Phila., this region would benefit from the influx of so much gas, rather than Louisiana and Texas. Phila. could again become a magnet for industry as an energy hub. (Phila. Daily News editorial, 4/8/16)
  • Natural Gas has “Benefitted Many Farmers in Our State”: In the late 2000s, drilling of a newer kind of well in Pa. expanded dramatically, bringing with it more job opportunities and more people spending money at local hotels, restaurants and retail stores. The drilling industry has generated significant tax revenue at the state level. … Unconventional drilling has further generated revenue for communities where drilling takes place, as well as for the Commonwealth as a whole, through an “impact fee.” … Drilling has also generated a significant economic benefit for many farmers in our state. As large-scale land owners, many farmers have taken advantage of the opportunity to lease a portion of their land for drilling and then used the royalties they receive to reinvest in their agricultural operations. For some, it has meant investing in a piece of equipment to enhance the farm, rather than struggling to repair something that’s on its last legs. For others, the money allowed them to expand their operations. Still others were able to retire but keep their land in production by renting it out to others looking to be a part of the agriculture industry. (Congressional testimony, 4/13/16)
  • Pa.’s Farmers, Rural Communities Benefit from Natural Gas: Like many farmers, we have used this income to pay off debt, change enterprises, help with college expenses, fund retirement accounts, catch up on travel and maybe buy a horse or two. The constant stress of fluctuating commodity prices and unpredictable weather is softened a bit with additional income from leasing, royalties and pipeline right of way. Over the long term, I believe natural gas development will actually preserve our precious open space, successful farmers will farm the land rather than subdivide it. This income also finds its way into our local economy making life a little better for the entire community. (Congressional testimony, 4/13/16)
  • “Life Wouldn’t be the Same Without Natural Gas”: Most are familiar with natural gas as the fuel that helps us keep our homes warm and comfortable in the winter. We may also use it to cook our meals, heat our water, dry our clothes, and light up our fireplaces. Gas does all these jobs safely, efficiently, and affordably. … A robust gas supply will enable our utilities to meet expected demand with much lower emissions and costs, and also to help build up their sources of renewable energy. … In America, natural gas is a main feedstock that is then broken down into various elements essential for our economy. With over 96 percent of all manufactured goods directly touched by the business of chemistry, we wouldn’t recognize life without these products. … Many of these chemistry products make everyday life not only more convenient, but also more sustainable. … This boom in domestic energy has helped revive American manufacturing, including a renaissance in the business of chemistry. … Public policy should encourage — not hinder — this important resource. Life wouldn’t be the same without the energy and products of chemistry that we get from natural gas. (Detroit News op-ed, 4/11/16)

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