As Joe Biden was pushed further and further to the left during the primary season, most often by either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, he wound up making any number of promises that will come back to haunt him in the general election. One good example of this phenomenon was highlighted by David Rutz at the Washington Free Beacon this weekend. The incident in question took place during Sunday’s debate on CNN. Attempting to appease the “Keep It In the Ground” folks who might otherwise be tempted to support Bernie Sanders, Biden abandoned some of his long-held positions on the oil and gas industry and called for an end to all drilling in the United States. All of it.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Sunday he would prevent oil companies from drilling as part of his effort to combat climate change.
“No more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry,” he said at the CNN debate. “No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. Ends.”
Biden hasn’t called for an all-out ban on oil drilling before, which would have a radical, negative effect on the U.S. energy industry.
After bragging about his $1.7 trillion climate change plan, Biden doubled down and said there would be “no new fracking” when he’s president and “not another coal plant will be built” under his administration.
There are a couple of problems with those last comments in particular. First of all, nobody is building new coal plants. They’ve gone out of style. In fact, many coal plants are already undergoing conversions to burn natural gas instead. And as for fracking, it’s actually being credited with America’s continued reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
All of this talk may excite the progressive base, but the reality is that the energy industry employed more than 6.4 million people in 2017 and that number has continued to rise since then. A very large percentage of those jobs are in the oil and gas industry. And do you know where many, many voters have benefitted from these boom times the most? Pennsylvania. Fracking and other natural gas extraction efforts from the Marcellus shale deposits support literally tens of thousands of jobs in the Keystone State. Oh, and you were thinking about turning Texas blue?
So, Joe. Now you’ve gone on the record. No new fracking. “No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill.” And that means that all of those people will be out of work. And it’s not just Pennsylvania. There’s drilling going on all over the country. That’s why we’re now the world’s largest producer of natural gas, a cheap, plentiful and clean form of energy. But if you’re elected, you’re going to wave your magical executive order pen and make it all go away, eh?
I can’t wait for this to come up during the debates. The advertisements in every state sitting on shale deposits basically write themselves. And Biden will be forced to eat those words, assuming he can remember the question long enough to try to answer it.