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Ahead of Climate Forum, Bernie Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Back Federal Fracking Ban

"Any proposal to avert the climate crisis must include a full fracking ban on public and private lands," declared Sanders

U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a town hall event at the Wolfeboro Inn in Wolfeboro, NH on Aug. 12, 2019. On Wednesday, Sanders called for a total fracking ban in the United States. (Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Just hours ahead of a televised climate forum with ten of the top 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls hosted by CNN on Wednesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders urged all candidates in the race to back a federal ban on fracking—both on public and private lands—across the United States in order to address the urgent threat of the global climate emergency.

"Any plan that is serious about tackling the climate crisis we face must start with a ban on fracking. Senator Sanders gets this." —Seth Gladstone, Food & Water Watch"Any proposal to avert the climate crisis must include a full fracking ban on public and private lands," Sanders said in a statement.

"Fracking is a danger to our water supply. It’s a danger to the air we breathe. It causes earthquakes. It's highly explosive. Safe fracking is, like clean coal, pure fiction. But, most importantly, methane from natural gas contributes to climate change and is setting us on a path to disaster. When we are in the White House, we will end the era of fossil fuels, and that includes fracking."

While all ten candidates set to participant in the CNN climate forum—including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang—have all put out their individual plans for addressing the climate crisis, only Sanders, according to this overview by the Huff Post, has called for such a complete and total fracking ban.

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Seth Gladstone, media relations director for Food & Water Watch, one of the leading national groups which has called for a federal fracking ban, praised Sanders for his announcement.

"Any plan that is serious about tackling the climate crisis we face must start with a ban on fracking," Gladstone told Common Dreams in an email. "Senator Sanders gets this. The other candidates need to realize it also. Fracking is an inherently toxic, polluting drilling method that threatens our water and air, and makes people sick. And the fact that almost all oil and gas produced in America today comes from fracking is reason enough to ban it entirely."

Asked by Vox reporter Tara Golshan about the difference between Sanders call for a total fracking ban and her prescription, the campaign of Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday afternoon that she "fully supports a national fracking ban."

As Golshan noted, however, existing statements from the Warren campaign show that while the senator opposes fracking on public lands she has not previously indicated she supports a total ban that would include drilling on private land as well.

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