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U.S. Oil and Gas Doesn't Need a Trump Win to Thrive

Weaning America off fossil fuels will take decades, even if Democrats sweep Congress in November.

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Tackling climate change has become one of the central pillars of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s election campaign. The former vice president’s $2 trillion investment plan covers infrastructure, transit, the automobile industry, and the power sector, with the ultimate goal of making the United States carbon neutral by 2035. A Biden administration would also bring the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement and reverse Trump-era rollbacks on various public health and environmental rules. However, that doesn’t mean America’s gas-guzzling days are over.

The executive branch can enforce existing legislature, such as the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, but efforts to regulate the production or consumption of fossil fuels this way would meet considerable resistance in the courts. Retaking control of the Senate would give Democrats more options to restrict the oil and natural gas industry, but lawmakers would probably hold off on the more aggressive policy options, such as an outright ban on fracking. The U.S. still needs fossil fuels for transport and electric power generation, even if the Democrats prioritize electric vehicles and renewables, so an all-out assault on domestic producers would do more harm than good.

Dave Meats does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.