Democrats must not ban Oklahoma’s ability to produce clean-burning Natural Gas
Published: February 23rd, 2020
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, the self-described Democratic Socialist whose meteoric rise has captured the attention of those on the far-left of the political spectrum, took a step recently to radically change the U.S. and Oklahoma energy sectors by introducing legislation to ban hydraulic fracturing.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced a similar version of the bill last month.
While Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders and others take aim at energy producing states like Oklahoma, they ignore our state’s contribution to making America energy independent and ensuring consumers have reliable energy while reducing harmful emissions.
Oklahoma has made great strides in energy production and emission reduction not through harsh regulation or government oversight, but through technological advancements. The oil and natural gas our state produces supports our local economy while providing the U.S. and the world with an ample supply of clean-burning fuel – natural gas.
Thanks to increased reliance on natural gas, the U.S. leads the world in cutting carbon emissions. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are near the lowest point they’ve been in 25 years. According to the International Energy Agency, if natural gas hadn’t begun to displace coal, 2018 emissions would have been 15 percent higher.
A study from Baker Hughes shows that nearly 90 percent of all new oil and gas wells today are horizontal, fracked wells. An immediate ban on fracking — as these bills propose — would result in a decline in U.S. oil and gas production, driving up prices for consumers and limiting America’s ability to remain energy independent.
That’s where the real disaster for the American economy — and our country’s national security — begins. One of the best economic success stories has been America becoming a net exporter of energy, reversing decades of foreign oil dependency. Oil from fracked U.S. wells now accounts for about 8 percent of total global oil supplies. If we ban fracking, oil imports would reverse and U.S. dependence on foreign oil would begin to grow.
Stopping the supply of oil will not immediately stop demand. Basic economics shows us what happens to the price of something when demand remains constant and the supply is cut. Prices would skyrocket for everything requiring energy to produce – meaning everything we grow, transport or buy.
Ocasio-Cortez’ ban is just bad policy and an insult to Oklahomans. It could impose large costs on the global economy that would slow down the very investments we need in clean energy. It would hurt U.S. consumers overall and especially households in states — like Oklahoma — where the industry is supports thousands of workers and their families.
Note: Bice is a Republican state Senator from Oklahoma City, and a candidate for the GOP nomination in Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District.