Economists say claims by industry groups and allies in Congress that a leasing ban would trigger massive job losses are greatly exaggerated.
An industry-promoted University of Wyoming study projected almost 300,000 jobs lost by 2025. But historical data on energy jobs suggest a much smaller impact of about 60,000 jobs, said Jeremy Weber, former chief energy economist for Trump's White House Council of Economic Advisers and now a University of Pittsburgh associate professor
That's still a significant number as the U.S. economy recovers from job losses in the pandemic. And even limited job losses could profoundly affect local economies in Wyoming, New Mexico and other oil-dependent states.
There’s also no guarantee such impacts would be offset by Biden's promise to deliver millions of new green energy jobs, such as installing solar panels or helping with environmental cleanups of abandoned oil wells and coal mines.
Despite promises by renewable energy advocates, such jobs “don’t fill the bucket like oil and gas does,” said Jim Willox, a commissioner in Converse County, Wyoming, the state’s top crude producer and home to several new wind farms.
Aware of such concerns, Biden climate adviser Gina McCarthy met with executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other companies Monday to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A White House statement said the administration “is not fighting the oil and gas sector” and wants to create jobs while addressing emissions.
American Petroleum Institute CEO Mike Sommers said independent forecasts show natural gas and oil will provide about half of the global energy mix for decades to come.