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US Chamber of Commerce projects 'catastrophic' impact of proposed fracking ban

A total ban of hydraulic fracturing in the U.S. would have "catastrophic" consequences for the economy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Energy Institute said in a report released Dec. 19.

The report, which the Chamber said was created in response to proposals from Democratic presidential candidates to ban fracking, painted a grim picture if such promises were actually kept.

"Our analysis shows that if such a ban were imposed in 2021, by 2025 it would eliminate 19 million jobs and reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product ... by $7.1 trillion," the report's authors said. "Simply put, a ban on fracking in the United States would be catastrophic for our economy."

The study said a trickle-down effect from a fracking ban would be felt at all levels of government as well. Tax revenues, the Chamber said, would drop by a combined $1.9 trillion between the local, state and federal levels. Consumers, the report claimed, would see their energy prices "skyrocket" under a fracking ban.

"Natural gas prices would leap by 324 percent, causing household energy bills to more than quadruple. By 2025, motorists would pay twice as much at the pump for gasoline as oil prices spike to $130 per barrel," the Chamber said.

The report said a fracking ban would "devastate" the economies of major oil and gas producing states, naming Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas in particular. But the effects, the authors asserted, would be felt beyond the borders of those states.

"Cost-of-living impacts to residential consumers in Wisconsin and Michigan would grow by approximately $4,700 and $5,100 respectively between 2021 and 2025," the Chamber said. The report also said a fracking ban would end the recent production surge that has made the U.S. a net oil and gas exporter, leaving the country reliant on foreign energy sources once more.

In its summary, the Chamber cautioned candidates interested in catering to environmentalists to consider the consequences their positions could have for the rest of the nation.

"Candidates' views and the things they say and do to win the support of interest groups have a real impact on how policy is shaped and implemented. That is certainly true on energy issues, as groups continue to advance a 'Keep It In the Ground' agenda that, if adopted, would force our country to surrender the enormous domestic benefits and global competitive advantages that affordable energy development have made possible," the group said.