What Laws Empower Biden and AOC to Ban Fracking? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
What Laws Empower Biden and AOC to Ban Fracking?

As you kind people know, I have been writing about the moronic ban on fracking that Mr. Biden promised to impose on our nation almost the moment he was inaugurated. This measure would have cut domestic oil and gas production by more than 35 percent since early 2021. It has caused oil and gas prices to skyrocket as oil and gas became in short supply. We would have to beg countries that hate us for oil. We are already draining our strategic petroleum reserve — a life/or/death military asset — at an alarming rate.

As it happened, Mr. Biden “walked back” this deadly promise. He did ban fracking and even drilling on large swaths of federally owned land. But it was not even remotely on the scale that Mr. Biden promised. It did lessen hydrocarbon production from those areas and as we all know, prices at the pump and in the furnace have risen dramatically.

They would have risen far more had Mr. Biden not eaten into our vital strategic petroleum reserve. I hate to think what will happen if we and our allies need that oil in wartime.

Again, Mr. Biden did not go anywhere near as far as he promised, thank God.

But I keep asking myself, “Where did Mr. Biden think he got the authority to stop fracking? What law authorizes the President to control hydrocarbon production in the U.S.?”

So, I looked and researched and found some answers.

First, there is no clear answer. There is no law — or none that I could find — that authorizes the White House to ban fracking.

Second, that being so, as I believe it is, is there a law in the works that will authorize the President thus? It happens that online, there is something akin to a “legislative tracker.” It tells us who introduced such a law, what his or her stated motivation for the law is, and what concrete data backs up that motivation.

Third, the results were startling. In the House of Representatives, the law was introduced by the famous Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or “AOC” as we have come to call her. Ms. Cortez gives a long list of motivations for her felt need for the ban. It’s a long list, but boiled down to the essentials, it goes something like this:

When a corporation drills for oil and/or gas, it releases some amount of methane gas. That gas is deadly. Fracking, like any other form of exploration or production, releases that deadly methane gas. Thus, there is believed by certain “experts” to be a need to stop fracking.

This need (so says Ms. AOC) is especially acute because over one million children of African-American heritage live near sites where oil and gas is extracted by fracking and/or processed. This, states Ms. AOC, harms their health. Thus, it can be banned.

With this particular reason, Rep. AOC hits the Trifecta of Progressive “Thought.” She represents that fracking is harmful to the environment, is poisonous, and is racist in that it is anti-black.

Of course, there is a fantastic amount of oil and gas extraction and processing, in fact, most of it, that happens near where white people or brown people live. Somehow, that does not make the cut when Ms. AOC listed the harms that fracking does. There is the implication that white people have lungs less sensitive to methane than persons of at least partial descent. I have not been able to find any such data.

But, is it possible that now we have different standards for dangers from air pollution for black people and white people in this, our beloved America? Apparently, in the Democrat Party, there are such differences. It’s hard to imagine such clear racism.

Ms. AOC goes on to state that Congress has the power to stop fracking because when fracking was going strong, the U.S. was exporting large amounts of hydrocarbons. It was also sending large sums of hydrocarbons from state to state. The Constitution allows Congress to regulate international trade and interstate trade. QED, Congress can regulate fracking.

We used to say in law school that certain powers Congress arrogates to itself are done so under Constitutional powers that “prove too much.”

That is, basically everything done in the U.S. involves some measure of interstate Commerce. Does that mean that Congress has power to regulate everything? Marriage often involves interstate travel in the form of honeymoons. Does that mean Congress can regulate marriage and love? Apparently so. Child-rearing often involves interstate travel. Can Congress regulate that?

And as to the allegation that many black children live near places where oil and gas are processed mean that Congress (and the President) can regulate every aspect of black child-rearing? If so, can government require that black children’s parents get married and stay together until the child is 18? Is there any limit at all to what the federal government can regulate?

Plus, and this is a big plus, usually when a “fact” is introduced as a basis for a law, there is some number attached to that. That is, if a “fact” is the basis for a law usually there is some data for that fact. But Ms. AOC cites no numbers at all for the effects of fracking. Nothing about the effects of fracking on the lungs of different race children.

So, where does that leave us? Another example of a regime that simply ignores the Constitution and the basic principles of law-making. And where are the oil companies on this? Why isn’t there a torrent of litigation by the oil companies and their stockholders to stop this Biden corruption, to strangle it in the cradle?

Is the environmentalist movement so powerful that no one dare raise her head (or “their” head) above the foxholes to shoot back?

However you look at it, it looks bad.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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