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API On Tonight’s Democratic Debate


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Even though some presidential candidates at tonight’s presidential primary debate may push for restrictive energy policies like a fracking ban, many more elected officials recognize that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry provides reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy that Americans of all walks of life depend on daily.

Please see below for a roundup of quotes from elected leaders to help supplement the conversation at tonight’s debate, as well as a roundup of media reports that have called into question the efficacy of campaign promises to ban fracking.

The Primary Isn’t The Party

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Natural gas is a cleaner, all-American, domestic source of energy....” (PBS, The Charlie Rose Show, 10/16/08) TIMESTAMP: [00:43:30 – 00:43:49]

Former President Barack Obama: “The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.” (Barack Obama, State of the Union, Washington, DC, 1/24/12) TIMESTAMP: [00:29:26 – 00:29:40]

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D): “I think you have to say different things to get the nomination and no one really knows what that means, ban fracking, I’m not even sure if a president can do that.” (KDKA Radio, 11/12/19) TIMESTAMP 3:22-4:00

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D): Natural gas and oil has put New Mexico in a “very good situation” with “significant resources” to fund free college tuition, which “will change the dynamic of New Mexico forever.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 9/30/19)

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM): “I know that if we were to shut down oil and gas drilling in New Mexico today, we’d have to shut down our schools tomorrow, statewide.” (Carlsbad Current-Argus, 11/19/19)

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA): “The false choice is that you have to choose fracking over good climate policy” (CBS Pittsburgh, 10/15/19)

  • Sen. Casey: Natural gas has made America “less dependent and which creates, as we know, lots of jobs in Pennsylvania.” (CBS Pittsburgh, 10/15/19)

Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA): “They are wrong about whether they can do that, first of all. I don’t think the president has the authority to ban fracking. But they’re also wrong about whether that is the right idea.” (CBS Pittsburgh, 10/15/19)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): An outright fracking ban would “risk unintended consequences like shifting production to places like Venezuela and Russia.” (Carlsbad Current-Argus, 11/19/19)

Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy under President Obama: Natural gas “has been a major contributor to reducing carbon emissions.” (Ernest Moniz, Policy Address At Columbia University’s Center On Global Energy Policy, New York, NY, 8/26/13) TIMESTAMP: [45:49 – 46:22]

Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator under President Obama: “[N]atural gas has been a game changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions.” (Gina McCarthy, Remarks, Washington, DC, 12/2/13) TIMESTAMP: [53:45 – 53:57]

  • McCarthy: “The natural gas boom has provided us…a tremendous and inexpensive energy supply,” & has “certainly” been a “net positive” from a greenhouse gas perspective. (MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” 1/30/14)

Sally Jewell, Interior Secretary under President Obama: “I know there are those who say fracking is dangerous and should be curtailed, full stop. That ignores the reality that it has been done for decades and has the potential for developing significant domestic resources and strengthening our economy and will be done for decades to come.” (San Diego Tribune, 8/5/13)

David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior under President Obama: “It's impractical and inappropriate to stop oil and gas drilling on our public lands and offshore waters right now.” (David Hayes, Testimony, Natural Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 7/16/19) TIMESTAMP: 02:03:28 – 02:03:43]

Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy under Obama (via The Columbus Dispatch): “Chu said it is a ‘false choice’ to say that the country must decide between inexpensive natural gas and preserving the environment. ‘This is something you can do in a safe way,’ he said.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 9/17/13)

Tom Steyer & John Podesta: “Under President Obama's leadership, we appear to be at the beginning of a domestic gas and oil boom. After a four-decade decline in oil production, the U.S. is now producing more than half of our oil domestically. This can free us from our addiction to foreign-sourced barrels, particularly if we utilize our dramatically larger and cheaper natural gas reserves…increased domestic production from developing these reserves has already created 75,000 new gas and oil-production jobs since 2009. And we have much further to go.” [emphasis added] (Wall Street Journal, 1/24/12)

Michael Bloomberg: Fracking has “helped cut America’s carbon emissions to levels not seen in more than 20 years… Low natural gas prices have been key to reducing New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 16% over the past five years….Natural gas and renewables should be seen as energy allies – not as energy antagonists.” (Remarks, 4/24/13)

Some In The Media Have Called Into Question The Efficacy Of Campaign Promises To Ban Fracking

Penn Live Headline: “Some Democratic presidential hopefuls pledge to ban fracking; it may hurt them in Pa.” (Penn Live, 9/13/19)

E&E News Headline: “Can Democrats ban fracking and win Pa.?” (E&E News, 9/19/19)

  • “In Pennsylvania, the natural gas industry employs more than 80,000 people, directly and indirectly, according to the state. It has provided jobs in areas that have been devastated by the closure of coal mines, steel mills and manufacturing.” (E&E News, 9/19/19)

The Associated Press: A fracking ban “threatens to antagonize unions and voters in areas that depend on oil and gas for jobs. That opposition may be fiercest in some of the states Democrats care about most.” (AP, 9/11/19)

CNN Business: “Although an outright fracking ban seems unlikely to get through Congress and the courts, such a move would halt America's historic shale oil boom in its tracks, drive up gasoline prices, threaten good-paying jobs and make the nation more dependent on foreign oil.” (CNN, 10/17/19)

E&E News: “The Democratic presidential candidates who promise to ban fracking are keeping a secret: The president can't do that.” (E&E News, 12/6/19)

CNN Headline: “Fact check: Some Democratic presidential candidates want to ban fracking. Could they?”(CNN, 9/16/19)

  • “Without an act of Congress, the President could not issue an outright ban on fracking across the US. There are however a number of regulatory and executive actions an administration could take to prevent or shrink the use of fracking technology, particularly on federal land. The problem is that most fracking takes place on private land, and any attempts to limit it would likely face legal challenges.” (CNN, 9/16/19)