One of the things that arose during the recent debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen Bernie Sanders is how much the former has embraced the concept, if not that totality, of the Green New Deal.
Biden has pledged that there would be “no new fracking” during his administration, according to the Washington Examiner. He has also pledged to ban oil and gas drilling out of hand, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“No more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. Ends.”
Biden is being pushed to the left by Bernie Sanders, who has signed on to the Green New Deal, a plan first proposed by Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, that would institute draconian changes to America’s energy economy, ending the fossil fuel industry, mandate renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and ban everything from air travel to private automobiles to the dairy and beef industries. The idea is to end the production of human-created greenhouse gasses as soon as possible, regardless of the consequences to the American economy.
Hydraulic fracking is a method of extracting oil and gas from shale formations by injecting fluid into wells. As the fluid cracks the shale, oil, and gas rises and is extracted. The technology was perfected in the last ten or 15 years and has resulted in the United States becoming, for all intents and purposes, energy independent, a goal long sought but elusive since the OPEC oil embargoes of the 1970s.
The attack on both fracking and conventional oil and gas drilling has not been well received in states that depend on fossil fuels for their economic viability. Pennsylvania, the state where Biden was born and which is crucial for his hopes for a victory in the general election, was the scene of a vigorous pushback according to Fox News. Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association President Daniel J. Weaver was quite direct in his response.
“The calls for a moratorium on fracking by presidential candidates are misguided and show no understanding of where energy and important consumer and medical products come from, and how important they are to our lives.”
Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania were also direct in their response to Biden’s stated policy on fracking as well as conventional oil and gas drilling. The former vice president’s lurch to the left into what amounts to a war on oil and gas provides Team Trump with an opportunity.
Fox News notes that Biden edges out President Trump in a head to head race in Pennsylvania. However, his stance against the oil and gas industry is not likely to be looked upon with any favor by people in Pennsylvania who depend on it for jobs. The Trump campaign will be able to tout Biden’s position as a direct threat against those jobs.
Why did Biden choose to go to war against the oil and gas industry? Even President Barack Obama did not attempt to institute a moratorium against fracking not to speak of an outright ban. Obama did restrict oil and gas drilling offshore and on federal lands but never pursued an outright ban.
Most analysts believe that Biden is making a play for some of Bernie Sanders’ supporters. He doesn’t need them to win the nomination. A string of primary victories has all but guaranteed Biden his long-sought position as Democratic standard-bearer in a presidential election. However, Biden’s campaign has concluded that he will need at least some of Bernie’s socialist supporting cadres if he hopes to win the general election.
The problem is, according to the UK Guardian, a lot of Bernie’s supporters have no intention of pulling the lever for Biden under any circumstances. Some may change their minds in the end, likely out of Trump Derangement Syndrome, but for most, it is Bernie or bust.
Biden may try to pivot toward the center after he achieves the nomination. But that sort of maneuver requires a nimbleness, in the view of most pundits, that Biden does not have. Besides, in the age of YouTube, past positions are fresh forever. Biden will have the choice of remaining an energy and environmental extremist or a soulless flip-flopper. Either way, Team Trump harbors every expectation of destroying Biden at the polls in November.