My column in the Patiot-News (Harrisburg, PA).
The problem for Pennsylvanians with Joe Biden is very straightforward. Which should they believe: what he says to their faces or what he says behind their backs?
At a Monday campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Joe Biden emphatically stated, “I am not banning fracking.” Here’s what he says when he’s not in Pennsylvania.
At a July 2019 Democratic presidential debate, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Biden, “Would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking in a Biden administration?” He responded, “No, we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated.”
At a September 2019 campaign event, Biden told another young girl to “look at my eyes” before he promised her, “I guarantee you, I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.” Fracked natural gas is, of course, a fossil fuel.
Then at a February 2020 campaign appearance, Biden said three times that he was going to “get rid of” or “phase out” fossil fuels. And, of course, the many thousands of jobs that go with them.
But there’s much more than just Biden’s latest or even past statements.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, has also been public, and emphatic, about her opposition to fracking. If Biden had to step down or, for whatever reason, would be unable to serve out his term, Ms. Harris would fulfill the fracking ban and throw thousands of Pennsylvanians out of work.
A poll last month found almost 60 percent of voters believe Biden won’t make it through his first term.
Likewise, a climate advisory committee established by the Democratic National Committee came out with a recommendation against fracking in May. Bernie Sanders opposes fracking and Biden is adopting many of Sanders’ policy positions to win over Bernie voters. All the green activist groups supporting Biden want a fracking ban.
And left-wing activists take heart that Biden can be easily steered further to the left. Even two-time Communist Party vice presidential candidate Angela Davis supports Biden because he ”can be most effectively pressured” by the left.
Pennsylvania: this is why what Biden says to your face doesn’t matter and has no basis in truth.
There is history here. In 2008, the official position of the Obama-Biden campaign on coal – another important job-creator resource in Pennsylvania – was that they favored it if it was “clean coal.”
But as was noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sept. 24 of that same year, that was not actually true.
The Post-Gazette reported about a video showing Biden interacting with supporters at a rally in Ohio. A young woman asked Biden why the Obama-Biden campaign supported “clean coal.” Biden replied, “We’re not supporting clean coal.” He then went on to say that there would be “No coal plants here in America. Build ’em, if they’re gonna build ’em over there [in China.]”
Once in office, the Obama-Biden administration used every apparatus of the federal government – from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Interior to the Department of Labor – to choke the coal industry out of business via overly burdensome regulations.
Then in 2015, Obama-Biden banned new coal plants. By the end of the Obamas-Biden term, almost 50,000 high-paying coal jobs had been killed nationwide and 94% of the market value of the coal industry had been wiped out. All the major coal companies have since filed for bankruptcy.
Much of this devastation occurred in Pennsylvania, where Hillary Clinton paid dearly for her offhand and callous remark during the 2016 campaign about putting the entire coal industry out of work.
What’s at risk for Pennsylvanians if Biden is elected? A lot.
As of 2017, fracking had produced an estimated $44 billion in economic activity in Pennsylvania, 322,000 direct and indirect jobs and $1.5 billion in impact taxes to the state, according to a report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute.
A fracking ban would do a lot more than just cripple the Pennsylvania economy. Gas prices would skyrocket nationally as we lose our energy independence and become dependent on foreign oil once again.
Our newfound energy dominance would evaporate. The broader economy would suffer and national security would once again depend on politics in the Middle East.
Time and again Joe Biden goes behind the backs of Pennsylvanians and says he will ban fracking. Maybe we should believe him.
Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com, served on the Trump EPA transition team and is the author of “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA” (Bench Press, 2016).
September 7, 2020 at 03:05PM