Fracking Enters the Presidential Campaign

The Story:

On Tuesday, January 28, Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for President, introduced a bill that would, if enacted into law, ban hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, within the United States. Fracking is the practice of using high pressure water, with various additives, to force oil and gas out of their hiding places beneath the ground and get them into the wells.


There are a lot of reasons why people oppose fracking. On the left, especially, there are some who are opposed to it precisely because it works, it obtains otherwise unobtainable hydrocarbons to run the machinery of the developed world. There is a view that if fracking had not entered the picture, the world would be much further along in its transition to a post-carbon, cleaner-and-greener energy system.

The Thing to Know:

There is no chance the bill will become law this session. It is not designed to become law. It is designed to give Sanders a campaign issue. Vice President Biden, one of Sanders’ opponents in the race for the Democratic nomination, had close ties to the oil and gas industry, and is on record opposing a blanket ban on fracking.

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