Joe Biden’s anti-fracking plan will kill Wisconsin jobs. The Wall Street Journal reports how important fracking is to the state’s economy, even though there isn’t any oil in Wisconsin, writing (abridged):
The collapse in oil prices this year has squeezed energy-centric economies from Russia to Venezuela, idled drilling rigs in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, bankrupted U.S. shale producers and helped push Exxon Mobil Corp. out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Wisconsin doesn’t produce a drop of oil or gas, but there has been a bust there, too, as there has been along the entire industrial ecosystem that supported fracking. Dozens of idled open-pit sand mines dot the farmland near where Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois meet along the Mississippi River. Hundreds of mine workers in the sparsely populated region have lost jobs. Many others, like Mr. Brush, are suffering alongside them.
Companies that supplied trucks, lubricants and drilling tools have been bankrupted. Steelworkers in Youngstown, Ohio, have lost jobs providing pipe to the oil patch. Apartments and hotels hastily built to house roustabouts in North Dakota and remote parts of Texas have emptied.
Few of the shale boom’s sideshows have flamed out quite like Wisconsin’s Northern White sand. Local governments that envisioned the mines bringing long-term prosperity are looking at budget crunches. Investors have lost more than $10 billion on sand-mining stocks.
A wave of job losses hit the sand industry this spring after coronavirus lockdowns and a Saudi-Russian production feud sent crude prices tumbling. Hours worked in Wisconsin’s mines during the first half of 2020 fell more than two-thirds from the same period in 2018, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. By July, Wisconsin and neighboring states had lost more than 650 mine jobs, according to public layoff notices.
About a dozen mines remain operating in Wisconsin, down from 69 in 2016.
By Paul Page
Read more here.
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