Report: Fracking Ban Would Destroy 1.5 Million Texas Jobs

Friday, November 04, 2016

A national ban on fracking would eliminate nearly 15 million jobs all across the country, according to research published today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy (Energy 21). Texas would suffer a particularly severe blow, with job loss figures estimated as high as 1.5 million.

Energy 21 also found that a national fracking ban would exceed “the economic harm caused by the financial crisis, the housing bust, and the Great Recession – combined.” Those events cost the United States around 8 million jobs. A ban on fracking, however, would eliminate 14.8 million jobs by 2022, “all while raising costs for families and considerably reducing American energy security.”

American consumers would feel the ramifications of a fracking ban almost immediately. Other key findings from the Energy 21 report:

  • Gasoline and diesel prices would increase by 53% in 2017, and nearly double by 2022
  • Cost of living would increase by $4,000 per year ($4,600 per year in Texas)
  • Electricity prices would double by 2022
  • Natural gas prices would be 400% higher in 2022
  • $873 billion of income would be displaced by 2022 

Businesses in the food, medicine and housing industries would face pricing increases on products essential to their operations. Important components, ingredients and materials, including packaging, cooling, heating and transportation, all rely on oil and natural gas. 

As a nation, the United States would effectively lose its status as a global energy superpower, leaving it vulnerable to international suppliers like Russia and members of OPEC. GDP would plummet $442 billion immediately after the ban, and ultimately account for $1.6 trillion in lost GDP by 2022.

Texas in particular would be hard hit from a fracking ban, as the state relies heavily on low-cost energy sources like natural gas and coal (the fuels account for over 81 percent of the state’s power supply). Furthermore, the state leads the nation in natural gas production with three of the largest shale formations in the world within its borders. If Texas were a country, it “would be among the top-10 oil and gas producing nations in the world.” As such, Energy 21 finds that a ban on fracking would disproportionately harm the Lone Star State.

The shale boom has helped increase Texas GDP by $13.2 billion and “created 156,700 jobs as a result of increased consumer spending.” Dr. Thomas Tunstall, research director for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, recently wrote that “Texas benefits economically from all aspects of oil and gas production,” adding that “recent oil and gas activity in Texas benefits residents in ways other states can only imagine.” Despite these clear benefits, anti-fracking organizations like the Sierra Club and Earthworks – headquartered in Oakland, Calif., and Washington, DC, respectively – are pouring millions into campaigns against fracking, natural gas and LNG exports.

An extreme policy like a fracking ban is purely hypothetical, as the national campaign against fracking has struggled to succeed in areas where drilling actually occurs. But rhetoric from prominent politicians shows that many public figures are willing to endorse such a measure without having to answer for how much it would cost. The latest report, along with other recent research from Energy 21, is about

"taking a step back to better understand (and quantify where possible) the real-world, economy-wide consequences of living in a world in which candidates’ rhetoric on critical energy issues were to become reality…"

You can read Energy 21’s complete study to learn more.

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