By PK Kaiser
It sometimes seems as if former Vice President Biden is hell bent on losing this November.
Biden’s clean energy plan calls for banning new oil and gas permits on public lands and waters. While that position might appeal to environmentalists, it won’t win over the swing state voters who rely on America’s oil and natural gas industry for affordable energy and good jobs.
The natural gas and oil industry supports more than 10 million high-paying jobs across the nation. Many of these jobs are located in swing states like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan, all of which Democrats lost in 2016. The industry supports more than 12 percent of jobs in Texas, another key state Democrats want to carry in 2020.
The industry is projected to support an additional 1.9 million American jobs by 2035. Nearly 60 percent of those positions will go to blue-collar workers, a group that supported President Trump in 2016. Pledging to destroy blue collar jobs won’t help Democrats win back this demographic.
Nor would the fact that banning fossil fuels will raise Americans’ energy bills. Recent advancements in fracking allowed U.S. energy firms to access previously untapped natural gas reserves. Thanks in part to this abundance of energy, the cost of heating a home with natural gas fell 12 percent between 2005 and 2010. That’s more than $300 a year in savings.
Banning or limiting fracking would undo this progress. Eliminating fossil fuels from the power sector would cost the average American household $2,000 a year in added energy costs, according to one study.
Contrary to what Democrats claim, this domestic energy boom has also done wonders for the environment. Thanks to the availability of cheap natural gas, energy firms have transitioned away from coal, which emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide. Natural gas has done more to reduce carbon dioxide emissions than renewables since 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Today, U.S. emissions are nearing 30-year lows even as global emissions have risen 50 percent.
Clearly, Democrats think that demonizing the oil and natural gas industry is a winning strategy. The polls suggest otherwise.
In 2016, two-thirds of voters said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supports increasing the production of oil and natural gas. And less than half of swing voters in the “Blue Wall” — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota — support a fracking ban.
Democrats failed to attract swing state voters in 2016, and it cost them the election. Given Biden’s opposition to fossil fuels, they seem bound to repeat themselves in 2020.
PK Kaiser is the Arapahoe County (CO) Assessor. Before being elected assessor, he served as a member of the Colorado Democratic Party State Central & Executive Committees. The realtor and small business owner holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, a master’s degree in economics, an MBA in finance, and is working on his Ph.D in Economics.