New Report Urges Dems To Tone Down Anti-Oil Rhetoric, Or Else

Chris White | Energy Reporter

The U.S. will immediately lose 380,000 oil and gas sector jobs if anti-fossil fuel rhetoric becomes policy, according to a report by an energy industry group.

Analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found anti-fossil fuel rhetoric permeating this year’s election would result in the loss of more than 100,000 jobs associated with oil and gas development on federal lands, as well as indirectly impact another 280,000 jobs across the U.S.

“Too often, there is a temptation to dismiss statements made by candidates as things said ‘off the cuff,’ or in the ‘heat of the moment,’ or offered up merely to ‘appeal to their base,” the report noted. “This is incredibly cynical, and it needs to change.”

Policies to keep fossil fuels in the ground would cause the loss of nearly a quarter of the nation’s current production of coal, oil and natural gas, according to the report. It would also result in the loss of more than $11.3 billion per year in annual royalties and rental fees for federal and state governments. It would almost certainly threaten $70 billion in annual U.S. GDP.

The report targeted Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for their calls to end all fossil fuel extraction on public lands.

“That’s where the president is moving: No future extraction,” Clinton told environmentalist group 350.org in February. “I agree with that.”

Sanders has made similar comments in the past, writing in a January press statement that he applauds “the president for taking bold action,” in banning coal production on federal land. The best way to protect the environment, he said, “is by keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

The report, which was conducted through the group’s Energy Accountability Series, says the fallout will likely affect several states dependent on oil and gas development.

Colorado, for instance, would lose 50,000 jobs (15,300 direct, 34,700 indirect and induced), and as much as $125 million in annual royalty collections. The Centennial State has the most direct oil and gas employees operating on federal lands.

Colorado’s environmentalists are pushing two controversial ballot initiatives that, if approved by voters, would add language to Colorado’s state Constitution allowing local governments to all but ban fracking. Initiative 78 would require a 2,500-foot distance between hydraulic fracking and public areas like parks or hospitals.

The initiative would prohibit fracking within 2,500 feet of any “occupied structures,” placing 90 percent of the state’s land out of reach of natural gas developers, according to a government report.

A study from the University of Colorado found that the impact of the initiative would be $14.5 billion in lost economic output and 104,000 jobs by 2031.

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