President-elect Donald Trump wants to create millions of jobs by removing restrictions on American energy development, and the numbers seem to add up.
Trump pledged in late November to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy — including shale energy and clean coal — creating many millions of high-paying jobs.”
A study found that the removal of drilling restrictions on federal lands and water could create 2.7 million energy jobs, while another 1.8 million could be created by encouraging hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Since most of the damage to the coal industry has already been done, coal jobs are less likely to be created and only tens of thousands could potentially be generated.
Removing Obama-Era Drilling Restrictions On Federal Land
Opening federal lands for natural gas, oil, and other drilling would create 2.7 million jobs and add $663 billion to the economy each year for the next 30 years, according to a new study published last December by Louisiana State University and the free market Institute for Energy Research (IER). More than 75 percent of the jobs would be in high-wage, high-skill employment, and many would be “support” jobs outside the energy industry.
Opening up these lands and waters would also lead to $5.1 trillion in new wages and $3.9 trillion in new federal tax revenue over the next 37 years, which would massively stimulate the economy, according to the research.
Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s (ANWR) oil reserves would create an estimated 736,000 new American jobs, according to an economic analysis.
Studies by industry groups estimate that offshore drilling would create 840,000 American jobs and nearly $200 billion in revenue for the government by 2035.
Removing Barriers To Fracking
Fracking has caused America’s oil and natural gas industry to surge, turning the country into a net exporter of oil and gas.
Fracking has already created an estimated 1.7 million jobs and will likely create a total of 3.5 million by 2035.
If environmentalists had successfully banned fracking in 2017, an estimated 3.9 million jobs would instantly dissapear due to indirect environmental effects, rising to 14.8 million jobs lost by 2022, according a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Gasoline prices would almost double, as would electricity prices. U.S. household incomes would fall by $873 billion.
“It’s easy for politicians and activists to call for an end to hydraulic fracturing — but now we know what the consequences could be,” Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce’s energy program, said in a press statement. “Without fracking, the U.S. would surrender our status as a global energy superpower.”
Ending The War On Coal Jobs
America has 83,000 fewer coal jobs and 400 coal mines than it did when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, demonstrating that the president has followed through on his pledge to “bankrupt” the coal industry.
A 2015 study found the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. During Obama’s second term, the industry employment in coal mining has fallen by another 33,300 jobs, 10,900 of which occurred in the last year alone, according to federal data. As a result, many ex-coal miners are unemployed and Appalachian “coal country” has faced very real economic devastation as a result.
Major companies such as Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company, and Arch Coal were forced to declare bankruptcy in the last year. Other coal companies like Alliance Coal announced mass layoffs.
Currently, coal mining employs 69,460 Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the blame for job loss is targeted at federal regulations aimed at preventing global warming, which caused coal power plants to go bankrupt. However, the energy market does seem to have moved away from coal towards natural gas, though the extent of this transition is unclear.