90 Miles From Tyranny : Biden’s ‘Green Energy Jobs’ Really Means ‘No Energy Jobs’ And ‘Low-Paying Energy Jobs’

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Biden’s ‘Green Energy Jobs’ Really Means ‘No Energy Jobs’ And ‘Low-Paying Energy Jobs’

Throughout his campaign for president, Joe Biden promised Americans that his green energy policies would “create millions of good-paying jobs.” During stump speeches and debates, Biden assured Americans that by transitioning the country away from fossil fuels, workers in these industries will be able to assume new roles in our new “clean” economy.

All of this conjures images of oil and gas workers setting down their equipment in the tumbleweed-filled fields of the Permian Basin, then picking up a solar panel to install on a nearby roof, or hoisting themselves high above the ground on a wind turbine.

The idea that fossil-fuel workers can effortlessly move into a new job in renewables is overly simplistic and ignores the diverse and technical skills in America’s energy workforce. But perhaps most importantly, it ignores the significant pay gap between the sectors.

The shale revolution transformed our country into a net exporter of oil and gas, propelled us into energy independence, and is responsible for creating 2.8 million new jobs.

The average salary of oil and natural gas workers is approximately $112,000, more than double the national private-sector average of $51,000. But oil and gas workers don’t just make double that of the national average. They make double that of wind and solar workers.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 a worker installing solar panels made an average of a little more than $21 an hour. Workers in oil and gas extraction made more than twice as much, at an average of over $42 an hour.

In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy released a report that highlighted the important economic impact of the oil and gas industry. It referenced a finding from the Economic Policy Institute that “the oil and gas extraction industry has one of the highest indirect job multipliers,” in which one direct job leads to an additional 5.43 indirect jobs.

None of this is lost on America’s labor unions. Last July, the...

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