Frack Checking Zeldin’s Inaccurate Claims

Governor Hochul pledges to uphold New York’s fracking ban law, safeguarding public health, safety, water, and climate


For Immediate Release

One week from Election Day, fracking is on the ballot in the New York gubernatorial election. Anti-fracking activists are rallying behind Democrat Kathy Hochul, as Republican Lee Zeldin seeks to reverse New York’s fracking ban. Zeldin’s fracking endorsement echoes industry lies and talking points from as far back as 2014, when then Governor Cuomo enacted New York’s fracking ban. 

Governor Hochul has pledged not to take New York backwards on its fracking ban, which safeguards public health, safety, water and climate.

Food & Water Action breaks down Zeldin’s inaccurate fracking claims.

Fracking Jobs Numbers Are Dangerously Inflated

For years, the oil and gas industry has been wildly inflating estimates of direct and indirect jobs created by the fracking industry. Numbers from the oil and gas trade association American Petroleum Institute (API) range from 2.5 million to 11 million for industry jobs nationwide. But a Food & Water Watch analysis from January 2022 – which is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – debunks these claims, showing that the industry employs far fewer workers than it claims: About 541,000 nationwide, or less than 0.4 percent of all jobs.

What’s more, industry employment is on the decline, suffering losses even as oil and gas production has increased. Total oil and gas employment nationwide has fallen 33 percent since 2014. Over the same period, production has risen 32 percent. Zeldin’s fracking job creation claims are dangerously inaccurate.

Fracking Brought Economic Devastation to Pennsylvania, Not Success

Contrary to Zeldin’s claims, fracking has not brought economic development and jobs to neighboring Pennsylvania. In fact, Pennsylvania is a case study of the dangers of doing the dangerous fracking industry’s bidding. Just under 25,000 workers are employed in the state’s oil and gas industries, a mere 5% of what API claims. Last year, employment in those fields shrank by 20 percent, though record amounts of gas were produced.

Indeed, a February 2021 Ohio River Valley Institute report found that Pennsylvania’s top fracking counties see declines in personal income, jobs, and population at higher rates than non-fracking counties. For example, while Pennsylvania saw a 1.5% population increase, fracking counties saw a 2.6% decline. These are indicators of economic devastation, not success, and Zeldin’s desire to replicate these results in New York is dangerous.

“All of the Above” Energy Is No Climate Fix

Zeldin told the New York Times that he is an “all-of-the-above energy guy,” outlining a policy stance incompatible with avoiding the worst of the climate crisis. A 2022 Food & Water Watch report reveals that a decade of impressive growth in clean energy nationally was matched by increases in fossil fuel production – showing that any meaningful climate policy must focus on measures to stop new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure.

An “all of the above” pro-fracking Governor would take New York backwards and torpedo Governor Kathy Hochul’s climate progress.

Food & Water Action Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp issued the following statement:

“For eight years, New York’s fracking ban has kept New Yorkers safe and healthy, preserving our air, water and climate for a livable future. Lee Zeldin wants to undo all of that. His reckless, uninformed policies are reflective of a candidate concerned with fear mongering over reality, talking points over action.

“Under Governor Hochul, New York has stopped the construction of two new fracked gas plants, denied key permits for a fossil fuel powered crypto-mining facility, and made real steps toward banning fossil fuels in new buildings including passing a city-level ban in New York City last year. This is the direction New York needs to go — forward not backward.

“Fracking’s day in New York is over. We can’t let Zeldin restart the clock.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]