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'Moving in the Right Direction,' Mexican President-elect AMLO Promises to Outlaw Fracking

Environmentalists are urging him to "move even farther by pledging to transition Mexico to a fully clean, renewable energy future."

Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, attended a rally in 2013. (Photo: ProtoplasmaKid/Wikimedia/cc)

Mexico's President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, whose victory last month left many hopeful for the nation's next chapter, elicited praise from environmentalists for promising Wednesday to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting natural gas that's often called fracking.

"This is the climate leadership we need," declared 350.org.

The "plan to ban fracking in Mexico represents the latest common-sense decision by a world leader to prohibit this inherently toxic, polluting practice," Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter told DeSmog.

"[The] plan to ban fracking in Mexico represents the latest common-sense decision by a world leader to prohibit this inherently toxic, polluting practice."
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch
"President-elect Obrador is moving in the right direction on many issues, including energy and the environment," Hauter added. "He can move even farther by pledging to transition Mexico to a fully clean, renewable energy future, thereby setting a remarkable example for its neighbors to the north."

López Obrador, who will take office Dec. 1, made the fracking announcement at a news conference on Wednesday. "We will no longer use that method to extract petroleum," he said, according to The Associated Press.

He also railed against the 2013 privatization of oil and gas reserves that had long been controlled by the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), declaring, "The neoliberal governments deliberately closed the CFE plants in order to buy electricity from foreign companies at very high prices... All of that will be corrected."

While Hauter called on AMLO to usher in a new era of clean energy, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday, "In recent days, López Obrador has said he would invest $9.4 billion in the state-owned sector, including two new oil refineries and the renovation of six existing ones."

Thomas Tunstall, research director for the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute of Economic Development, pointed out to DeSmog that Mexico "has substantial untapped conventional oil and gas reserves." He also posited that the nation will continue constructing natural gas pipelines because they "are much less expensive that the alternative of shipping it in via LNG tankers."

Amid celebrations of AMLO's vow to ban fracking, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a New York-based biologist and anti-fracking activist, noted the president-elect's oil plans and urged him to listen to Mexico's anti-pipeline activists who are "risking life and freedom" in their fight against dirty energy:

We know things are bad. We know it's worth the fight.

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