Biden on fracking: Mike Pence repeatedly claimed Democrat wants to ban practice — but he’s never said that

Former VP has not proposed nationwide ban on shale gas drilling, despite claims

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 08 October 2020 16:34
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Mike Pence declines to promise a peaceful transfer of power

Mike Pence once more repeated claims that a Joe Biden administration would end fracking during his debate with Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.

Amid a discussion on the environment and the climate crisis on Wednesday night, Mr Pence made the unsubstantiated claim that the Democratic presidential nominee would “ban fracking”.  

Instead, the Democratic presidential candidate has said he would not ban the controversial drilling practice because the United States needed to “transition” to newer and cleaner energy sources.

He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last month that "fracking has to continue because we need a transition, we’re gonna get to net zero emissions by 2050,” and added that “there’s no rationale to eliminate [it] right now."

Mr Biden’s proposed climate plan, meanwhile, does not mention any ban on hydraulic fracturing - otherwise known as fracking -  but rather, it proposes "banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters".

Those proposals would not put in place a blanket on fracking anywhere in the US, but could limit those operations with restrictions on operating permits and insurance policies for fracking firms.

Ms Harris on Wednesday backed Mr Biden’s plans and said: "I will repeat, and the American people know, that Joe Biden will not ban fracking. That is a fact".

She argued that a Biden-Harris administration would instead create new jobs based around “clean energy and renewable energy", as the US transitioned to cleaner energy sources.

The vice president’s claims also come despite no US president being able to ban fracking businesses from operating, with some 90 per cent of the country’s fracturing wells on private property, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

President Donald Trump has made similar claims in the past about Mr Biden’s plans, in an apparent attempt to appeal to swing state voters whose communities have seen a boom in shale gas production through fracking.

Activists and progressive Democrats have meanwhile called on Mr Biden to adopt a proposed Green New Deal that takes a tougher stance on combating the climate crisis.

The candidate has however avoided such an endorsement, which Mr Trump and Mr Pence have framed as being part of a so-called “radical left agenda”.

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