Economics/Class Relations

Why Democrats Make Energy Expensive (And Dirty)

By Michael Shellenberger

Progressives say they care more about working people and climate change than Republicans and moderate Democrats. Why, then, do they advocate policies that make energy expensive and dirty?

Progressive Democrats including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the House progressive caucus, have sent a letter demanding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) investigate whether “market manipulation” is causing natural gas prices to rise 30 percent on average for consumers over last winter, an astonishing $746 per household.

But the main reason natural gas prices are rising is because progressives have been so successful in restricting natural gas production. Sanders, Jayapal, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), as individuals and as part of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have successful fought to restrict natural gas production through fracking and to block natural gas pipelines, including the Atlantic Coast pipeline.

In 2020, Sanders celebrated efforts by progressives to cancel the Atlantic Coast pipeline. Today, New England is facing rolling blackouts. “Getting [natural] gas to [progressive Senators Ed] Markey and [Elizabeth] Warren’s Massachusetts is so difficult,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “that sometimes it comes into Boston Harbor on a tanker from Russia.”

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