Pennsylvania Town Stands to Lose Everything If Biden’s Fracking Ban Continues

Pennsylvania Town Stands to Lose Everything If Biden’s Fracking Ban Continues

April 13, 2021

Thirty years ago in Canonsburg, PA, a town near Pittsburgh was slowly dwindling away. Coal mines were dying, and the glass, steel and manufacturing industries were struggling to stay afloat. Jason Capps, a Canonsburg resident his entire life decided to leave after graduating high school due to the limited opportunities left in the town. In 1987, the year Capps graduated from high school the unemployment rate was a startling 12 percent.

In 2006, Capps moved back to his hometown following the rebirth of Western Pennsylvania with the discovery of the Marcellus Shale. “There was this amazing trickle effect, this positive economic evolution that I saw happening in a place where nothing ever happened,” he said. 

The town’s Southpoint industrial part now includes a breathtaking campus of homes, a championship golf course designed by Arthur Hills, and an executive business park where multiple Fortune 500 companies are based. Jeff Kotula, president of the county Chamber of Commerce, said “Over 20,000 people work here every day, thousands also live, golf or stay at the hotels.”

In January, President Joe Biden took office and immediately signed several executive orders that banned or halted fracking on federal lands. These acts followed by his continued messaging that the climate crisis will be at the center of his policymaking has Canonsburg locals and business owners worried. As well as the rest of energy-rich communities across the United States who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.

The New York Post reports:

“The statistics speak pretty clearly. If you look at Pennsylvania, in the past 12 years that natural gas was on the grid,” and grew to comprise more than one-third of the electricity supply, “CO2 intensity has been reduced by 39 percent in the state,” [Rodney Wilson, president of business development at energy company CNX in Canonsburg] said.  

An American Petroleum Institute study shows the oil and gas industry contributes $34.7 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, with more than 1,347 businesses spread across the entire state as part of the larger supply chain. Pennsylvania would lose as many as 600,000 jobs if fracking is banned — and the state GDP would take a $261 billion hit, according to a report from the US Chamber of Commerce. 

Once again, we see the major negative ramifications energy-rich communities stand to lose if Biden’s ban on fracking stands or expands even further.

“As exciting as the past 15 years have been for the region, you get very concerned about what the future holds for Canonsburg and for Western Pennsylvania,” said [Nick Deiuliis, CEO of CNX], “Despite all these wonderful things that we’re doing … decision-makers and elites are basically working night and day to deny you … your future. That is something that frankly should not be taken lightly.”