Biden: You can frack for natural gas but you can’t burn it

In one of the rare instances where the media has bothered to ask Joe Biden about anything of substance, he was forced to give an answer during the last presidential debate about whether or not he was planning on banning fracking. He flip-flopped on that issue yet again, saying that he would not be banning fracking, likely because he’s aware that the polls in Pennsylvania are hanging by a thread at the moment. But as C. Boyden Gray points out this week at Real Clear Politics, Joe Biden’s answer wasn’t just at odds with previous statements by both he and his running mate. He’s also directly contradicting information published on his own campaign website. Despite trying to clean up the mess caused by those remarks by saying we couldn’t get rid of fossil fuels “for a while,” that depends entirely on how long you think “a while” might be. Uncle Joe still has a promise on his website claiming that we’ll be done with fossil fuels by 2035.

For the full picture, voters should take a look at Biden’s official clean energy plan. The Biden plan borrows the Green New Deal’s ambitious goal of a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.” Burning natural gas—methane—inevitably emits carbon, so the Biden plan requires eliminating natural gas for electricity generation by 2035…

This Green New Deal goal would never get congressional approval, but that may not matter. Biden promises to achieve his clean energy goals by fiat, issuing executive orders of “unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform.” A Biden administration would move to achieve its goal of “carbon-free” electricity generation through an even more aggressive version of President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” regulations. This Clean Power Plan 2.0 would require utilities to idle, then dismantle, their natural gas power plants.

You can read Joe Biden’s clean energy plan here. It’s all set forth in plain text. 2035 is the target date to be done with fossil fuels, including natural gas. So if we pair up what Biden said last week with his own published energy plan, he’s telling the country that it’s okay to keep fracking for natural gas, but nobody will be allowed to burn it? Was Biden having another “senior moment” here or does he honestly believe that this idea could work?

As Gray points out, this pipe dream (pardon the pipeline pun) is not only unrealistic but literally dangerous as well. One-third of the massive volume of natural gas that America produces each year goes to generating electricity. The conversion of coal-fired plants to natural gas has been underway for more than a decade and it’s allowed us to vastly reduce our carbon footprint. There is no viable plan to replace all of the electricity generated in this fashion, so idling the natural gas plants would effectively starve the energy grid. The whole country would begin experiencing rolling blackouts after the sun goes down, just as is already happening in California.

Further, much of the rest of the natural gas we produce is piped into homes and businesses across the nation to power stoves, furnaces and other appliances. When you eliminate natural gas, those will all have to be converted to electric appliances, further driving up demand for electricity that would already be running short. This isn’t any sort of coherent American energy policy. It’s a suicide pact.

And that doesn’t even begin to address all of the tens of millions of well-paying jobs supported by fracking in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and around the Gulf Coast. Biden already went on record telling those workers they were going to need to learn to code, but I’m pretty sure that answer isn’t going to go over very well.

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