Democratic platform committee considers calling for a ban on fracking

One of the lingering fights between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is over whether to ban fracking or simply regulate it more heavily. The Hill reports that fight is now continuing as the Democratic platform committee debates the party’s approach to energy:

“I think it could be a tension point, but I think it’s a good tension point,” said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica, who will testify before the committee this week.


Sanders appointed Bill McKibben, a strident climate change activist and author who co-founded the advocacy group, to the platform committee.

McKibben appeared at a press conference with Sanders last year when the senator rolled out a bill to end future fossil fuel development on federal land. Both have endorsed the “keep it in the ground” movement to stop fossil fuel development, and both support a national ban on fracking, a drilling technique that uses high-pressure water to extract oil and natural gas from rock.

Clinton’s appointee, meanwhile, is Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency under Bill Clinton and advised President Obama on environmental issues. She, like Clinton, has said the federal government should regulate fracking, which is well short of the ban that liberals like Sanders are seeking.

McKibben’s group is against all fossil fuel development on land and offshore. Sanders success in the primaries has allowed him to place McKibben in a position to influence the party even though Sanders himself is finally beginning to line up behind Clinton.

Rep. Keith Ellison, who was also appointed by Sanders, seems less than confident the move to call for a ban on fracking in the platform will prevail. He tells the Hill, “We’ll see, but I think we’ll be doing well if we can acknowledge there are a whole lot of things [about fracking] we don’t know, and they are dangerous to the public health and we ought to take effective actions.”