The oil and gas industry is mounting a vigorous counter-attack against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s plan to lead a transition away from fossil fuels if he defeats President Trump.
“Six-dollar gas is coming if Trump isn’t re-elected,” Continental Resources founder Harold Hamm told FOX Business on Friday after the former vice president outlined his approach to energy policy at Thursday night’s debate in Nashville, Tenn.
“If Biden is elected and his plan on energy is adopted, he will send America into a deep depression and millions of jobs will be lost in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, North Dakota and we will once again be beholden to foreign rogue regimes for our energy,” Hamm argued.
The U.S. oil and gas industry supports 10.3 million jobs, which pay an average salary of $101,181, according to a study released by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the American Petroleum Institute in 2015, the most recent report available. The industry contributed $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy that year.
While Biden dismissed Trump’s claims during the debate that he would ban fracking, a process used to extract fossil fuels from shale formations, he said transitioning away from the oil industry is necessary because it “pollutes significantly” and must be “replaced by renewable energy over time.”
The former vice president clarified his comments later in the evening before departing Nashville International Airport.
“We’re not getting rid of fossil fuels,” Biden said. “We’re getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time.”
Biden’s campaign website says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, widely panned by Republicans and targeted by Trump on Thursday, is a “critical framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”
The Green New Deal calls for greenhouse gas emissions from human sources to be reduced by 40% to 60% of 2010 levels by 2030 and for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“America is the cleanest industrialized nation on the planet, decreasing EPA-regulated pollutants by 73% over the last forty years while economic growth increased 262% and the population grew 60%,” said Wayne Christian, head of the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s regulator of the oil and gas industry. “Biden’s goal of zero emissions is impossible and will hurt American families by destroying our economy and making our nation less safe.”
Oil major Chevron Corp., meanwhile, said it has “found ways to work constructively with 27 different administrations” in the more than 140 years the company has been in business.
Rival ExxonMobil Corp. referred FOX Business to a statement from the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group for the oil and gas industry.
“Democrats, Republicans and independents know that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry delivers affordable and reliable energy to American families and businesses and all over the world,” the organization said in its statement. “We aren’t going anywhere.”