On the eve of a presidential debate scheduled to include discussions of climate issues, the White House released a report about the Pennsylvania energy industry that actually undermines Donald Trump’s boasts about fracking.
At recent campaign appearances, Trump has attempted to rally voters by saying that a Biden fracking ban would cost somewhere between 600,000 and 900,000 Pennsylvania workers their jobs.
But the White House’s own report states that Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry “employs approximately 26,000 workers.” And that figure, ironically enough, is sourced to a Pittsburgh City Paper piece (that cited a Food & Water Watch jobs analysis) headlined “Frack Check: Trump Inflates Pennsylvania Fracking Job Figures by 3500 Percent,” which obviously debunked Trump’s inaccurate claims.
To be clear, the new White House report also includes the kinds of misleading claims one would expect from the administration. The report states fracking indirectly supports 300,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, a claim sourced to research by the American Petroleum Institute that massively inflates those numbers.
The report also touts the administration’s record on coal: “Since President Trump took office, coal mining jobs in Pennsylvania have topped 5,000 and increased by more than 6 percent.” But coal jobs in Pennsylvania have stagnated in recent years; according to the US Energy Information Administration, there were 5,432 coal jobs in 2019, down from 5,458 in 2017.
Food & Water Action Policy Director Mitch Jones released the following statement:
“Donald Trump’s absurd exaggerations about fracking are a staple on the campaign trail, so it is ironic that his own administration has released a report that almost tells the truth. For years, bogus industry jobs claims have been promoted by political leaders across the political spectrum, but Trump has taken it to a new level. The real truth about fracking is that it has never been the jobs engine that its backers claim, and it cannot be part of any climate plan that seeks to preserve a livable future.”