Fact Check: Joe Biden wants to eliminate new fracking permits, not all fracking
The claim: Joe Biden wants to eliminate fracking.
The claim that presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden wants to eliminate fracking was made in a post on Facebook and is similar to an ad by America First Action, a pro-Trump Political Action Committee.
The post includes a video of Biden answering a question in a debate and a claim that Biden could cost Pennsylvania more than 600,000 jobs. The video says it is paid for by America First Action.
The post says, “Biden on Fracking: ‘No. We would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated, and no more subsidies for either one of those, period.’”
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Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a method of extracting natural gas from the ground. It involves a horizontal drilling process that pumps water, sand and chemicals into the ground, fracturing rocks and releasing natural gas.
An email to an America First Action spokeswoman seeking information about the post did not get a response.
The information about the potential job loss is similar to estimates in a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute. The report, which was released in December, estimates that a ban on fracking in 2021 would lead to the loss of 5.9 million jobs in seven states by 2025, including about 600,000 in Pennsylvania.
What did Biden say, and when?
The video appears to be from a July 31 debate of candidates in the Democratic presidential primaries. The reference to the potential loss of 600,000 jobs appears to be connected to a study on fracking from a U.S. Chamber of Commerce group.
In the video, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Biden a question, according to the network’s transcript of the debate. The exchange happened after Biden had talked about his energy plan.
“Just to clarify, would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration?” Bash said.
“No, we would — we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either — any fossil fuel,” Biden said in response.
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Biden’s energy plan
It’s unclear what Biden meant by “work it out” or when the elimination would occur, but the Biden campaign said he does not want to ban fracking. Biden’s energy plan and other comments he has made shed light on his plans.
Biden’s website has a lengthy description of his climate proposal, which is called “Joe’s Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice.” The plan includes a call for 100% clean energy and net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as proposes a ban on new oil and gas permits on public lands and waters.
Biden echoed that position at a CNN Town Hall in September after saying that he doesn’t support a nationwide fracking ban. He said he wants to stop all oil and gas drilling on federal lands — the federal government doesn’t have much control over state lands.
“I think we should in fact be looking at what exists now and making a judgment whether or not … those in fact that are there, those wells that are there, whether or not they are dangerous, whether or not they have already done the damage,” he said.
Biden said he doesn’t believe there are enough votes in Congress to pass a federal law to deal with fracking.
Shut down the fracking industry? No
During an interview in April, Biden told KDKA television in Pittsburgh that he would not shut down the fracking industry. He said that he would not allow new leases on federal land, adding that 90% of the leases are on private land.
“I would make sure … the water is not being contaminated, but I would not shut it down, no,” he said.
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The issue of fracking also came up during a debate on March 15. Sen. Bernie Sanders talked about his energy proposals in that debate, according to CNN’s transcript.
“I’m talking about stopping fracking as soon as we possibly can,” Sanders said. “I’m talking about telling the fossil fuel industry that they are going to stop destroying this planet — no ifs, buts and maybes about it. I’m talking about speaking to…”
Biden responded by saying, “So am I.”
Later, Sanders said that he thinks Biden wants to continue fracking.
“Correct me if I am wrong,” he said to Biden.
“No more — no new fracking,” Biden said.
A Biden spokesman told Lisa Friedman, a New York Times reporter, that the remark was restating his plan on “banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters,” according to a tweet she posted the day of the debate.
Our ruling: Partly false
The claim that Joe Biden wants to eliminate fracking is false because it ignores his publicly stated opposition to such a ban. But it is true that Biden has said he wants to stop new permits for fracking. Further, while the post contains job loss potential supported by a study, linking that outcome to Biden’s unclear comments in the debate is misleading. We rate the post as PARTLY FALSE because the content in the item was not supported by our research.
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