How Did Fracking Affect the US Election?
Dec 07 2020
Joe Biden’s victory in the US election was fuelled by a myriad of factors, including fracking. Analysts say the Democratic victory reflects a growing sentiment in the United States to address the climate change crisis and build a greener, more environmentally conscious energy industry.
Developed to extract natural oil and gas from within the Earth's crust, hydraulic fracturing is an invasive technique that uses extreme pressure to blast hard rock with water jets. This creates fracture lines that allow oil and gas to flow to the surface and be collected. The technique has allowed the United States to access resources buried in deep-rock formations and drastically boost oil and gas production. As a result, the country has emerged as one of the biggest energy giants in the world, second only to Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Energy independence vs environmental responsibilities
While the Trump administration strongly supported fracking and promoted it as a ticket to energy independence in the United States, Biden called for a transition away from the industry. The new president elect, alongside his running partner Kamala Harris, was open about his plans to embrace green energy and gradually phase out fracking and fossil fuels.
The industry received plenty of attention during the lead up to the election, with Trump calling for executive orders to protect fracking. He also made claims a phase out of fracking by the Biden administration would be an "economic death sentence” for states such as Pennsylvania, where fracking is a major industry.
Biden commits to greener future
While Biden did not pledge to ban fracking completely, he was candidly in favour of a gradual transition away from fossil fuels. The Democratic candidate promised the country a US$2 trillion climate change package designed to slash emissions and create “green” jobs in the United States. Political analysts say this environmentally conscious attitude helped Biden and the Democrats win the election and secure the presidency.
Biden may have promised an eco-friendly future though transitioning away from fossil fuels and fracking will not be fast, or easy. There are multiple executive orders to reverse, including the removal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accords and the termination of guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality.
As the world moves towards green energy, new technologies will play an important role in supporting the transition. Find out more about the latest techniques in ‘Digitalisation Transforms Refinery Emissions Monitoring and Combustion Control Gas Analysis’ featuring insight from Stephen B Harrison on behalf of ABB Measurement & Analytics.
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