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.
For example, while most of the Permian Basin, the world’s biggest oil field, exists on private land in West Texas, some of it spills over to public land in New Mexico. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has said she wants New Mexico, the top recipient of energy revenues from federal lands, exempted from any drilling ban.
API’s study projects New Mexico and Wyoming, along with Texas, which benefits from offshore oil development in the Gulf of Mexico, would be among the hardest-hit states. New Mexico would stand to lose more than 62,000 jobs, the study said.
Democrats and environmentalists counter that addressing greenhouse gas emissions on public lands represents a significant piece of the puzzle of combating climate change.
Nearly one-quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production on public lands and waters, the U.S. Geological Survey determined in 2018.
“It’s such an obvious first step to a clean energy economy,” Rep. Jared Huffman, a California Democrat and a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, recently told the Washington Examiner. “You just can’t keep digging the hole deeper.”
But API’s study suggests that banning federal oil and gas drilling would prompt coal to come back. Coal emits twice the carbon as natural gas. The replacement of coal by cheaper natural gas has been the main reason for U.S. emissions reductions over the past decade.
With a federal drilling ban, coal use would increase by 15% by 2030, API said, keeping alive half the coal capacity that would otherwise be retired by that time.
As a result, U.S. carbon emissions would rise by 5.5% in the electricity sector by 2030, the study found.
Clean energy advocates would likely contest that finding, however, as renewables, whose costs have fallen fast, would also benefit from restrictions on oil and gas development.
In addition, the study does not mention the reductions in methane that would result from a federal drilling ban. Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon that is the main component of natural gas. API supported a Trump administration rule eliminating direct federal regulation of methane.
Tags: News, Energy and Environment, Joe Biden, American Petroleum Institute, Fracking, Gulf of Mexico, Climate Change, New Mexico, Texas
Original Author: Josh Siegel
Original Location: Biden drilling ban would cost 1M jobs and cause $700B drop in GDP: Industry study