U.S. presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, calls for national ban on fracking

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders | by Gage Skidmore | Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore

Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, reiterated his opposition to fracking while addressing the crowds in Binghamton, New York on Monday.

Accompanied by the high-profile anti-fracker Josh Fox, the author of the controversial documentary “GassLand”, Bernie Sanders made it clear that he would opt for a complete, country-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing activities should he win the race to the White House.

“In my view, if we are serious about safe and clean drinking water, if we are serious about clean air,” he said, “If we are serious about combating climate change, we need to put an end to fracking not only in New York and Vermont, but all over this country.”

“I don’t have to explain to anyone here that the growing body of evidence tells us that fracking is a danger to our water supply, our most precious resource,” he continued. “It is a danger to the air we breathe. It has resulted in more earthquakes. It is highly explosive. It is contributing to climate change…the toxic chemicals used in fracking are known to cause cancer and birth defects.”

Senator Sanders sees the fracking issue as key in his campaign against his Democrat opponent in the race for President, Hillary Clinton, who is accused of being disingenuous in her opposition to shale exploration having long promoted it abroad in her role as a Secretary of State.

This was pointed out by Josh Fox. Speaking in Binghamton, he endorsed Sanders for president and warned the voters to distrust Clinton’s sudden U-turn on fracking:

“Hillary Clinton just said, ‘I support the New York fracking ban,’ ” Fox said. “But Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, developed the global shale gas initiative, which sold fracking to 30 countries worldwide. And she is advocating for a ‘natural gas bridge to the future.’ What does that mean? It means frack gas pipelines crisscrossing everywhere. It means 300 new pipelines that will last for decades.”

Addressing the crowds, Bernie Sanders repeatedly promised to ban fracking, while reminding the listeners that he had always opposed the Keystone XL pipeline as “a no-brainer” while Clinton dragged her decision over more than a year.

“It took Secretary Clinton a while, but she did finally evolve on that issue,” said Sanders. “Evolving is not good enough: We need leadership.”

Sanders’ tough and unequivocal stance on fracking, as compared to Clinton’s wavering approach, was further emphasised in a newly-released 30-second ad, narrated by the Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon.

“Do Washington politicians side with polluters over families?” asks Susan Sarandon in the 30-second spot. “They sure do, because Big Oil pumps millions into their campaigns. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate for president who opposes fracking everywhere.”

Meanwhile – for the seventh month in a row – U.S. shale industry falls further into decline as low crude and gas prices remain depressed.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) drilling productivity report released on Monday, total output is expected to drop 114,000 barrels per day to 4.84 million bpd. If the prediction turns out to be correct, this would mean the largest monthly decline since records began in 2007.

Total natural gas output is forecast to decline for a fifth consecutive month in May to 45.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), the lowest since May 2015, the EIA said. That would be down almost 0.5 bcfd from April, making it the biggest monthly decline since March 2013, it noted.

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