Nearly half of all Democratic presidential candidates would support banning fracking if elected, according to a new presidential candidate survey released by the Washington Post.
Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Wayne Messam, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson all support a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Seth Moulton, Beto O’Rourke, and Tim Ryan all say they would not ban fracking but would regulate it better.
John Hickenlooper said he would not ban fracking nor regulate it better and Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and Andrew Yang were either unclear or gave no response.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of drilling down into the earth and injecting water at high pressure in order to release gas from shale rock. Fracking has been linked to all kinds of negative environmental and health problems, including earthquakes, contaminated groundwater, methane and air pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals, blowouts due to gas explosion, waste disposal, and more.
Fracking has turned the U.S. into the world’s premier fossil fuel producer, the technology essentially transformed the U.S. energy landscape. However, recent polls, such as one conducted last year by the Pew Research Center, show that the majority of Americans – 58% – oppose fracking. Presidential candidates may face problems announcing support, or lack thereof, of a fracking ban, depending on how popular fracking is with their current constituents.
“Front-line communities across the country are dealing every day with the human health and environmental risks that fracking inherently brings,” said Mitch Jones, energy and climate director at Food and Water Watch, in a statement. “Fracking poisons air and water, and makes people sick. Americans know it, and finally, Democratic candidates are beginning to get the picture.”
This week former Vice President Joe Biden released his climate plan. There was no mention of fracking. Although Biden’s plan supports the “framework” of the Green New Deal, it also calls for investment in nuclear energy and “carbon capture” technology, two options that environmentalists oppose as it does not move us the country entirely to clean energy.
In addition to asking about support for fracking, the Post asked presidential candidates the following questions:
- Do you support the Green New Deal resolution?
- Should we rejoin the Paris agreement?
- Do you support building more nuclear power plants?
- Would you support setting a price on carbon, such as with a carbon tax or cap-and-trade?
- Would you ban fossil fuel exports?
- Would you end leasing for fossil fuel extraction on federal lands?
- Would you eliminate fossil fuel subsidies?
- Are you doing something about your campaign’s carbon footprint?
Joe Biden is the only candidate that was labeled “unclear/no response” for every single question asked.
When asked if they supported the Green New Deal resolution, a whopping 15 candidates answered ‘Yes.’ Only candidates Michael Bennett, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Wayne Messam, Beto O’Rourke, and Tim Ryan said they would ‘prefer something else.’ As the Sunrise Movement pointed out, Joe Biden, despite being the current Democratic frontrunner, is the “only major candidate who hasn’t taken the #NoFossilFuelMoney pledge.”
The Sunrise Movement has vowed to “turn up the heat on Biden” and to pressure him to “do the right thing.” Unfortunately, Biden’s newly released climate plan is likely to be a disappointment to them as it has been to other environmentalist groups.