Bipartisan Group of Elected Officials, Union Leaders Share “Fracking” Support

Pennsylvania voters, elected officials across the political spectrum, union building trades members, and business leaders agree – banning the safe, responsible use of hydraulic fracturing will devastate our economy, burden consumers with skyrocketing energy costs, and reverse more than a decade of environmental progress.

Despite the severe blow such a policy would deliver to working families, Sen. Sanders – the leading candidate in the Democratic presidential primary – double downed on his proposed “fracking ban” during the recent debate in Nevada.

MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer told Channel 11 news that so-called “fracking bans” are out of touch with reality.

Beyond the debate state of the presidential primary, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also introduced legislation to end the very industry that has propelled Pennsylvania to the forefront of the American Energy Revolution.

The response from virtually everyone to these extreme and outside the mainstream policy measures has been swift, loud, and broad.

Here’s what they’re saying:

  • Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.): “In western Pennsylvania, people feel betrayed when they hear that there are any Democrats who support the elimination of jobs in our communities — good, middle-class, union jobs — and whose policies could easily lead to an increase in carbon emissions. Where I come from, jobs come first, thanks in part to a long history of union organizing that formed the traditional backbone of our party.” (2/14/20)
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.): “The fact is natural gas has transformed Pennsylvania. It’s changing our country.” … “It has led to a whole renaissance in the petrochemical industry. It’s tremendous for the environment.” … “Its geopolitical benefits are enormous, as well, as important allies of ours can buy natural gas from the United States rather than authoritarian governments that wish us no good will.” Toomey also said it is imperative to push back “on this terrible set of ideas that’s gaining traction among some in the Democratic Party.” (2/20/20)
  • Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.): “Natural gas is an important part of our area’s economy and our nation’s overall energy supply.” (2/20/20)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.): “We are currently experiencing an American energy renaissance with the United States having now become the number one producer of oil and the number one producer of natural gas on the planet. The political leaders who are advocating for this are also advocating for massive government control of the economy and socialism.” (2/18/20)
  • Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Tx.): Banning fracking “ would negatively impact our national economy, our energy costs, our environment, and increase our dependence on foreign energy sources. ” (2/12/20)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.): “The false choice is that you have to choose fracking over good climate policy,” Casey said. He also stated that natural gas is a clean fossil fuel that must be regulated but not banned because it has made the United States “less dependent and which creates, as we know, lots of jobs in Pennsylvania.” (11/14/19)
  • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D): “Candidates have already come out and said they want to ban fracking, which will be devastating not only to Western Pennsylvania but to all areas that have been, for 100 years, dependent on fossil fuels for their livelihood.” (2/19/20)
  • Pa. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D): “I am drawing from honest belief when I say: Banning fracking in Pennsylvania right now is wholly unrealistic.” (2/19/20)
  • Fmr. Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell (D): When asked if Bernie Sanders can win Pennsylvania, Rendell responded “No, he’s against fracking and fracking is viewed in Pennsylvania as an economic boom for the state.” (2/20/20)
  • Pa. President of AFL-CIO Rick Bloomingdale: “Nobody can tell me what these new jobs are that are going to replace these good union jobs in the energy industry if we ban fracking.” (2/20/20)

Banning hydraulic fracturing technology would cost Pennsylvania 609,000 jobs, $23.4 Billion in state and local revenue, and increase the cost of living for Pennsylvanians by $4,654 annually, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

This deeply misguided policy introduction comes on the heels of a research study (in addition to dozens of other peer-reviewed studies over the years) backed by state and federal agencies confirming shale development has no adverse effect on Pennsylvania waterways. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also found that the U.S. saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions last year due to the shift towards natural gas.

What’s more, this year’s draft EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory reported a 10% decrease in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, credited to the increasing use of natural gas for power generation.

In a recent piece discussing this very issue, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill highlighted the energy savings Pennsylvania consumers are realizing, calculating that the cost has dropped to about half what it was in November 2005:

That’s real savings for real people. It’s a particular benefit to those living paycheck to paycheck or on a fixed income. That’s one of the prisms through which all arguments for banning fracking should be seen. Another is the fact that the Marcellus drilling boom has allowed natural gas to replace coal in electrical power plants. That has meant a decline in greenhouse gases there.”

Pennsylvania voters recognize the economic and environmental progress that safe, responsible natural gas delivers.  Lawmakers should think twice before promising bans on a technology that continues to be a win-win-win for the Commonwealth.  

Recent blog posts