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Report looks at impact of fracking ban

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The U.S. economic impacts of a fracking ban over five years would be three times that of the Great Recession of 2010, according to a Global Energy Institute report. Some policy-makers and environmental groups are seeking bans because of what they cite as harmful effects on the environment due to the drilling method and fossil fuel emissions. A hydraulic fracturing operation in Colorado is shown in this photo. (AP Photo)

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The debate over New Mexico’s energy future will continue well into 2020, including the continued call by some New Mexico and national policy-makers to ban fracking for oil and gas production.

Now a national economic study is making its case that a fracking ban would have “catastrophic” financial effects to this state, six other U.S. regions and the nation as a whole.

According to a report issued Dec. 19 by the Global Energy Institute, a division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, if a fracking ban were implemented in 2021, by 2025 New Mexico would lose 142,000 jobs, see an increase in the per-resident cost of living of $5,790, experience an $86 billion decrease in its gross domestic product output, and have a decrease of household income of $26 billion over what it would have been without a ban.

The state would also realize lower state and local tax revenues of $8 billion, and record $8.3 billion less in federal tax revenues, according to the report.

The nation as a whole would experience 19 billion lost jobs, a $7.1 trillion decrease in gross domestic product, $1.9 trillion less in local, state and federal tax revenues, and double the prices for consumers for gasoline and diesel, the report states.

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Fracking is the nickname for hydraulic fracturing, a technology that began to be utilized frequently starting in the 1990s and 2000s. It uses high-pressure injections of fluids to create fissures in shale formations that contain fossil fuels, thereby releasing the oil and gas.

Fracking now accounts for 61% of U.S. gas production and 78% of U.S. oil production, according to the report titled “What If … Hydraulic Fracturing Was Banned? The Economic Benefits of Shale Revolution and the Consequences of Ending It.”

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.