A Department of Energy report released just days before transition in administrations warned that a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would have dire effects on national security, economic health and environmental goals.
Ordered by President Trump in late October, the “Economic and National Security Impacts under a Hydraulic Fracturing Ban” report released last week spells out the consequences if the nation was to ban unconventional natural gas development. Fracking was an issue in the presidential race. Outgoing President Trump is a strong supporter of fracking. Incoming President Joe Biden has not called for a fracking ban, but has said he would favor banning the practice on federal lands and supports goals to slow reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change.
The “shale revolution” that took off in 2008 when new technologies allowed producers to tap shale gas reservoirs by hydraulically fracturing the rock layers deep underground has resulted in the U.S. becoming the world’s largest producer of natural gas and crude oil.
“As this report concludes, a ban on hydraulic fracturing - a practice that has been used for over 50 years in the United States and other countries - would result in the loss of millions of jobs, price spikes at the gasoline pump and higher electricity costs for all Americans. Such a ban would eliminate the United States’ status as the top oil and gas producing country and return us to being a net importer of oil and gas by 2025. It would weaken America’s geopolitical standing and negatively impact our national security,” Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette wrote in a letter submitting the 80-page report.
The report said that a ban would cause an economic upset “increasing the risk of another recession in the early 2020s.”
It found that the country would see 7.7 million fewer jobs, and $1.1 trillion reduction in gross domestic product by 2025, while retail electricity costs would rise by more than $480 billion natural gas costs would increase by more than $400 million. The use of natural gas for power generation would fall from nearly 40 percent, changing the energy mix and resulting in increases in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition,n gas prices would increase by more than 100 percent to more than $4.20 a gallon.
The report also predicts “diminished U.S. energy security due to increased reliance on Middle Eastern and Russian energy supplies,” a reduction in global standing and an increased reliance by countries in Asia, Europe and South America on other gas producers.
“Given the interconnections of the global economy, these costs would reverberate across the world, affecting economic growth and the outlook from Asia to Europe. With a weakened American economy, the U.S. would experience a national security setback, becoming reliant, once again, on foreign nations for energy needs,” the report concludes.