by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joe Biden’s pledge to block oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters would force the United States to rely more on foreign energy sources, cost nearly 1 million jobs by 2022, and cause carbon emissions to increase by prompting a rebound in coal.
That’s according to a study Wednesday from the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s largest trade group.
The study does not name Biden, but the Democratic nominee has consistently pledged to ban new federal oil and gas leasing and development on public lands and waters.
It’s one of the centerpieces of his agenda to tackle climate change.
API’s study, prepared by the energy consulting firm OnLocation, finds a federal drilling ban would cause U.S. GDP to fall by a cumulative $700 billion through 2030. U.S. oil imports would increase by 2 million barrels a day, while natural gas exports, which have boomed during the Trump administration, could decrease by 800 billion cubic feet in a decade.
“It’s clear a federal leasing ban should be off the table — there’s far too much at stake for American workers, local economies, and our nation’s energy security,” said Mike Sommers, API president and CEO.
In an attempt to assuage swing voters, Biden has pledged not to ban fracking, the method of extracting oil and gas underground that facilitated the shale boom.
But he’s stood firm on a federal drilling ban. While most fracking occurs on private lands, a good chunk of oil and gas development occurs in federal territory. Biden’s ban would not affect existing oil and gas leases, which can last for up to 10 years.
According to API, federal lands and waters combined accounted for 12% of U.S. natural gas production and nearly a quarter of U.S. oil production in 2019.