Nearly All Job Growth In US From Fossil Fuel Extraction
Oil, gas and coal production were the biggest economic drivers for Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, generating an estimated economic contribution of $119.6 billion last year and supporting 558,976 jobs, according to the report. Wind energy on federal lands added $100 million in economic activity, along with 688 jobs. On-site solar construction yielded $1.4 billion in economic activity to go with 6,747 jobs.
The Interior report pushed for full cost accounting of energy sources, which means incorporating health and environmental effects into costs. The production of fossil fuels, in particular, “generates a waste stream that can damage human health and the environment,” the report said.
To highlight that point, Interior cited a National Research Council study that suggested coal electricity generation carried external costs equal to 70 percent of its market price. For natural-gas heat production, that figure was 42 percent.
For renewable energy sources, Interior said, the full cost accounting method should consider the impact that solar panels have on land use and the effect wind turbines have on bird populations, among other factors.