The Democratic Presidential candidates seem to be racing to see who can make the most outrageous statements relating to energy with no regard to the facts or truth. This all seems like just crazy political talk, but unfortunately many people across the country hear it and believe it’s possible. Nearly every top Democrat contender has said they would ban fracking, stop production offshore and on federal lands, ban exports and some even say they will ban oil imports – a bold statement considering we rely on oil and natural gas for 67 percent of our energy.
Their radical energy policies would set our country back decades. Thanks to fracking, the United States has seen tremendous progress. We are now the world leader in oil and natural gas production, and by 2020, we will be energy independent. The industry has boosted our national economy and citizens benefit every day from the low price of gasoline and diesel as a result of this energy renaissance. In addition, we no longer worry much about OPEC, Iran and other unfriendly oil countries. What they do doesn’t immediately impact the price at the pump, and we are no longer held hostage by their attempts to manipulate markets and energy prices or withhold energy resources as they did in the past.
This energy renaissance started right here in North Dakota and today, 95 percent of North Dakota’s 1.4 million barrels of oil production per day comes from shale oil wells that are completed using stimulation or “fracking.” This technology is safe and effective, having been in use since the 1940s with not one single clear negative impact on drinking water.
North Dakota’s oil and natural gas industry has created unprecedented wealth and prosperity for the state, its cities and its citizens. It has given our young people a reason to stay in the state, and we’ve attracted workers and families from all over the globe to work and live here. Just a little over a decade ago, we were closing schools. Today, we are building them.
Thanks to oil and natural gas, our economy is booming and our state coffers are full. Tax revenues accounted for 50 percent of the total taxes paid in 2018, and a recent economic study of the oil industry conducted by NDSU reveals:
The industry contributed $32.6 billion to North Dakota’s economy in 2017;
The industry supported 51,400 jobs;
Total local and state government tax revenues paid by the industry totaled $2.7 billion;
Total private wages and salaries for the petroleum industry were $4.3 billion in 2018, which equals 23.3 percent of all private sector wages and salaries paid in North Dakota
The industry paid $1.6 billion of in-state private and public royalties in 2017
Oil and natural gas development from “fracking” is also the primary funding mechanism for K-12 education, all statewide water projects, roads and other infrastructure. Furthermore, oil and gas tax revenues pay for approximately 30 percent of your property tax bill via the legislative buy-down and the funding of schools and county social services. Oil tax revenues have also allowed the legislature to drop state income taxes to the lowest rate of any state with an income tax.
It is hard to imagine anyone would run on a platform that calls for economic recession, unemployment, and devastating our national security, but that is exactly what the Democrat candidates are calling for by calling for a ban on fracking. Their policies would eliminate our nation’s primary energy source, stop our trek toward energy independence and energy security, and require our allies across the world to go back to our enemies to get their energy. It would throw our financial markets into chaos, decimating Americans’ retirement and savings accounts. But what’s even more terrifying is that they would literally be throwing millions of people out in the cold by taking away 67 percent of the energy we rely on to heat and power our homes and businesses. There is currently no other affordable and available resource that can replace oil and natural gas in the next 30 or more years—except, of course, coal, but these radical candidates aren’t likely to overlook our friends in that industry, either.
If this is the vision the Democrat presidential candidates have for America and they succeed, we better all fill our tanks and start chopping wood before the next election.