Presidential hopeful Joe Biden made a statement at this week’s Democratic presidential debate that shows just how out-of-touch the former vice president is with the oil and natural gas workers that have transformed his home state of Pennsylvania into an energy powerhouse and helped achieve record U.S. energy security.
Taking a line from fellow candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, when asked if he would be willing to sacrifice the economic growth seen during his two terms in the Obama Administration that was brought on in large part by prolific oil and natural gas production, he responded:
“The answer is yes,” he said. “The answer is yes, because the opportunity, the opportunity for those workers to transition to high-paying jobs … is real.”
Here are a few facts for Biden and the other presidential candidates that have campaigned on platforms to eliminate fracking:
- The U.S. oil and natural gas industry is responsible for generating 10 percent of U.S. GDP growth, contributing $218.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018 alone.
- The industry is simultaneously leading all sectors of the economy in creating and supporting the highest paying jobs in America. A recent analysis of annual pay disclosures found that Phillips 66, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, and ExxonMobil topped the list of oil and natural gas companies, paying their median workers $196,407, $183,445, and $171,375, respectively. For comparison, the median wage for an American with an advanced degree is $77,324, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Petroleum engineering tops the list of highest-paid college majors in 2019.
A recent Global Energy Institute report analyzed the impact to the United States if one of these candidates is elected and successfully bans fracking. In addition to a staggering $7.1 trillion reduction to the U.S. gross domestic product, $1.9 trillion in lost tax revenue and skyrocketing energy and gasoline costs, the job losses would be devastating.
By 2025, such a move would result in more than 19 million American workers that the president would need to “transition” to new jobs in “clean” energy and energy efficiency, as Biden has pledged to do.
In Biden’s home state of Pennsylvania, 609,000 workers would be without a job, and neighboring Ohio is looking at another 700,000 unemployed. The largest producer of oil and natural gas in the country, Texas, would have to find new employment opportunities for more than 3 million workers, while fellow Permian Basin producer New Mexico would add another 142,000. Additionally, Colorado will have nearly 500,000 displaced workers.
And with the symbiotic relationship between U.S. manufacturing and the oil and natural gas industry – those workers would suffer too. GEI analyzed data for two major manufacturing states – Michigan and Wisconsin – and found a fracking ban would result in more than 800,000 jobs lost for the two states combined.
These are real jobs for the very real American workers that are powering not only the United States, but the world, and in turn, bolstering energy security, growing the economy and lowering emissions.
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