By Tristan Justice
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined other Democrats in the 2020 primary in endorsing a federal ban on hydraulic fracturing during CNN’s seven-hour town hall event on climate change Wednesday.
Hydraulic fracturing, simply known as “fracking,” is a method of drilling for oil and natural gas that spurred an American energy revolution more than a decade ago, making the United States the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas, eclipsing and reducing U.S. dependence on Russia and Saudia Arabia.
Despite its benefits, some Democratic candidates running for president have pledged to ban the practice, arguing that the method of drilling is polluting the air and contaminating the water.
While roundly criticized by Democratic candidates, few can deny the benefits that fracking has provided to the American economy, sparking a revolutionary boom in the energy industry, dramatically lowering gas prices, and providing critical jobs and tax revenue in numerous U.S. communities.
A 2015 study from the Brookings Institute reports that nearly every region in the country has seen significant gains from fracking through lower energy bills, although benefits are more concentrated in areas where the drilling occurs.
A study published in 2016 from the University of Chicago further illustrates that the benefits of fracking substantially outweigh its costs in local areas even after factoring in risks to public health, driving up wages, employment, and housing prices.