Veep Debate: A Lot of Talk about Fracking

The Story: 

Senator Kamala Harris (D) and Vice President Michael Pence (R), the vice presidential running mates of Vice President Joseph Biden (D) and President Donald Trump (R), respectively, debated Wednesday evening in Salt Lake City, Utah. When the moderator turned to the issue of climate change, what was on each candidate’s mind was: hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking.”

Background: 

The usual pattern, set by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, has been for the Presidential candidates to debate each other three times while the Vice-Presidential candidates debate each other once.

The Biden-Harris team believes that the United States must aim at limiting total carbon emissions in order to limit the potentially disastrous effects of global climate change. The Trump-Pence team believes that climate science is uncertain, so that the potential disaster is speculative at most.

The Thing to Know:

Fracking is the injection of liquid at high pressures into existing rock fissures in order to widen them and access otherwise inaccessible supplies of oil and gas. Biden, in opposition to some within his own party, has refused to call for a ban on fracking. This became a bone of contention, as Pence refused to believe that a hypothetical Biden-Harris administration would not ban the practice. Harris insisted it would not.

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