Fracking and the Race for President

by Elizabeth Alford on March 11, 2016

Support for the oil and gas industry typically falls along political party lines. In the 2016 presidential race, all of the Republican front runners have come out in support of fracking, but in the Democratic camp, it’s not as clear.

Related: Does it matter who is in the Whitehouse?

Last week in latest Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders squared off over the issue of fracking, with both candidates jockeying for position as the best environmental candidate.

Clinton’s response to whether she supports fracking was long and filled with conditional language, including “I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one. I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it, number three, unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.”

Sanders, on the other hand was much more to the point. “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking,” he said.

Bernie Sanders has been a long-time opponent of fossil fuels and believes that fracking specifically is harming our water systems. He supports a climate bill that bans new fossil fuel development. His hard-line stance combined with Clinton’s record has her looking more conservative than she might wish.

In July 2015, Sanders agreed to a sign a pledge from The Nation that states: “In the name of protecting our country and the world from the growing dangers of climate change, I will neither solicit nor accept campaign contributions from any oil, gas, or coal company.” Hillary Clinton never replied to the request to make the same pledge.

As Secretary of State under Obama, Clinton championed Chevron fracking projects in Bulgaria and Romania, and received money from Chevron, the Keystone XL pipeline and others. One estimate suggests she has received more than $3 million from fossil fuel interests.

“Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe—part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel,” according to one environmental report.




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