by Steve Milloy, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow and Junkscience.com Founder
As Appearing in the Wall Street Journal
Like Obama, he’d kill the energy industry by a thousand regulatory and legislative cuts
Joe Biden is probably telling the truth when he says he won’t “ban” fracking. A president can’t do that by executive order. And even if Democrats seize the Senate, a legislative ban would be politically risky. Far more likely is that a Biden administration would end fracking via indirect means, by taking a regulatory nibble here and a legislative bite there.
While Mr. Biden has flip-flopped on fracking, he has consistently pledged to outlaw drilling on federal lands. That would affect 8% of all U.S. oil production, 9% of gas production, and 6% of natural gas liquids production. He has also committed to reversing President Trump’s deregulatory efforts, including the rollback of an Obama administration Environmental Protection Agency rule requiring the oil-and-gas industry to pay to limit methane leaks from fracking wells.
Big oil companies support the Obama rule because it puts the squeeze on smaller players. If the rule is reinstated, struggling independent frackers will either close up shop or sell themselves to larger companies, whose profits have been harmed by a production glut. With the ability to control and limit overall production, those larger frackers could reduce the glut and increase their profits. There would be less fracking—and higher energy prices for consumers.