Democratic candidates’ fracking ban would be dangerous, asinine

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and now Elizabeth Warren have all pledged to ban fracking. Warren said she’d do it her first day as president, which doesn’t even make 1/1,024th lick of sense. It seems one of the byproducts of the presidency of Donald Trump is that regardless of how outlandish or regrettable some of his statements are, his opponents somehow manage to outdo them in short order.

It’s as if they’re all playing a game of Presidential Timber Jenga, and one by one their sorry behavior and poor choices pluck out reasons for well-thinking Americans to support them. Soon all you have left are rickety piles and the mean fate that it’s your civic duty to pick one to preside over the entire nation. Afterwards, your fellow citizens who chose otherwise help set up the next game by pretending that the shambles getting your vote somehow fit your presidential ideal.

Fracking has brought about great good

But enough of that. There’s a bigger issue, which is that a ban on fracking would be asinine. It would be self-destructive, devastating to the economy, a gut punch to the poor, and practically ineffective to do anything about climate change. Would that vote-chasers could find ways to Signal Great Virtue without fomenting dangerous fictions.

Forbes has a good article on why a ban on fracking would never work. Readers of this blog can follow the tag “fracking” to see what great good has been wrought in the U.S. and in North Carolina by this world-changing technological revolution, the combination of hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling.

I pointed out in “The Fracks of Life” that it solved three big issues facing our society at the opening of the 21st century:

  1. Wanting to reduce dependency on foreign oil (made more urgent by 9/11 and subsequent war)
  2. Needing to develop domestic energy sources
  3. Desiring to cut emissions

Thanks to fracking, we’ve realized all three — yes, even the third. As I pointed out for “Earth Day” this year, the U.S. leads the world in cutting emissions. And the biggest reason for that is fracking, which has brought us “cheap, plentiful, clean-burning natural gas that is price-competitive to coal.”

The numbers for North Carolina this century are just as welcome and robust. See my update last week on how “Competitive Forces, Not Government, Are Behind NC’s Dramatic Fall in Emissions.”

Banning it is the stuff of Kremlin dreams

Also, the Democrats aren’t the only ones who seek to end fracking in the U.S. There’s a very key world figure who has been working very hard to bring it about.

Vladimir Putin.

All this decade, leaders around the world — including Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State — warned about Putin’s funding of environmental groups to oppose fracking in the U.S. Perhaps true believers think they’d be saving the planet. All they’d practically accomplish is to chain the planet to Russian oil and gas:

  • “Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and former premier of Denmark … said: ‘I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.'” — The Guardian (U.K.), “Russia ‘secretly working with environmentalists to oppose fracking'”, June 19, 2014
  • “[Hillary] Clinton Talked About ‘Phony Environmental Groups’ Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking.” — The Wall Street Journal, “What Did Hillary Know about Russian Interference?,” July 10, 2017
  • “Buried within the U.S. intelligence community’s report on Russian activities in the presidential election is clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States. By targeting fracking, Putin hopes to increase oil and gas prices, destabilize the U.S. economy and threaten America’s energy independence.” — “Intelligence: Putin Is Funding the Anti-Fracking Campaign,” Newsweek, January 29, 2017
  • “But as the investigations have progressed, there is a growing realization that Russians were trying to influence the political process and policy debates, including environmentalists’ efforts to limit or stop hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an innovative crude oil and natural gas drilling process.” — “Democrats dig for Russian connection and uncover environmentalists,” The Hill, October 26, 2017

There are too many reasons to list to hope that this unfathomably bad idea dies soon.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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