Pennsylvania Needs Fracking

Pennsylvania Needs Fracking

March 18, 2020

Democrats in Pennsylvania are coming to a difficult realization this election year – their state needs fracking. Last Sunday, during the most recent presidential primary debate, former Vice President Joe Biden (D-VT) joined Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) in calling for a complete ban of fracking. Now that both remaining Democratic presidential candidates have made this pledge, Pennsylvanians are being forced to consider what their state would look like without the natural gas and oil industry.

In a recent study, Power The Future compared the results of New York’s fracking ban and Pennsylvania’s embrace of the natural gas and oil industry. Pennsylvania’s increase in jobs, salary, and state revenue stands in stark contrast to New York’s high energy prices and job losses.

Pennsylvania’s Democrat Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman grappled with this issue in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article.

“The truth is messy…you have a fringe of our party claiming you can walk away from all of this (fracking), and then at the same time lamenting, ‘where did all the jobs go?’ Where did all the union jobs go?’ Or you wonder, ‘why are they voting for that crazy man in the red hat?’ Because he’s not trying to run my job out of existence.”

Fetterman went on to explain that he’s supporting a currently proposed drilling project and warns that the project’s defeat would jeopardize 3,000 “family-sustaining union jobs.” The article elaborates on the real-world impact that fracking has on Pennsylvania’s citizens.

Shale industry jobs in Pennsylvania jumped from 9,143 in 2007 to 20,146 in 2016, an increase of 120%, according to a 2018 analysis by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That doesn’t include jobs indirectly linked to drilling…Chevron said last month it was getting out of the Appalachian basin and would eliminate 320 jobs in Pennsylvania.

Sanders’ proposed alternative to this critical industry is renewable energy, and Biden hasn’t even proposed one if fracking were eliminated. Fetterman comments on this alternative, and Biden’s lack thereof, best.

Fetterman, in the interview, motioned toward the steel mill and its two blast furnaces. “Look over there,” he said. “You think you can power that off solar panels? It’s time to get real.”