Fracking is the quiet benefactor of the modern American economy. This technology has dramatically reduced America’s reliance on foreign oil, employs 10 million Americans, and contributes over $2 trillion to the US economy annually.

But how did this method of harvesting oil and natural gas become such a major achievement?

OPEC, the group of Middle Eastern nations who collude in setting worldwide oil prices, started losing power in 2014. Americans were sick of paying $4 per gallon, and the nation’s economy was stifled by $100 per barrel oil.

Enter fracking: the process of harvesting oil and natural gas from shale rock abundant throughout America.  At that time, fracking was relatively new and expensive. As a result, the cost of American oil production was significantly higher than the price OPEC was forcing on the global market.

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, believed it could wipe out these American competitors by flooding the market with excess oil.  OPEC hoped to drive prices too low for American companies to survive.

The Saudi’s plan worked–but only halfway.  Oil and gasoline prices tumbled, but fracking technology improved at the same time.  As a result, the price of oil production dropped enough to keep American producers profitable. Fracking presented a long-term, cheap alternative to Middle Eastern oil. America has halved its imports of oil and petroleum from OPEC countries since 2008, and oil remains below $40 per barrel.

Fracking has been a success across America. In Pennsylvania, fracking companies re-invested over $4 billion in state infrastructure. These companies also offer jobs with salaries $20,000 higher than the statewide average. In Texas, fracking generates annual state revenue over $12 billion, and employs over 100,000 people. North Dakota has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate thanks to fracking.

Despite fracking’s benefits, Democrats are waging a battle against America’s leading energy source. Democrat governor of New York Andrew Cuomo banned fracking statewide citing “health risks.” This in spite of the science behind fracking: a comprehensive EPA analysis concluded that no such health hazards exist.

Unfortunately, Cuomo’s position only hurts the workers in his state.  Upstate New York’s economy mirrors that of Rust Belt states: the work force has been ravaged by a complete collapse of manufacturing. Fracking would be monumental in putting these people back to work.

Thanks to fracking, the American oil industry has beaten OPEC at its own game. Not only that, but fracking creates high paying, sustainable jobs that don’t require college degrees, while providing energy much cleaner than coal. Fracking is the future of the American energy economy.