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Despite Poll Showing Aggressive Climate Action a Winning Issue, Biden Boasts 'I Am Not Banning Fracking'

In response to Trump's claims Biden would ban fracking, the Democratic presidential nominee assured a crowd in Pennsylvania that he will not do away with the practice.

 Climate change protesters disrupt Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign event on October 9, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

In response to claims from President Donald Trump that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would ban fracking, the former vice president told voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania on Monday that he would not outlaw the practice—despite polling that shows the American public increasingly favors aggressive actions left out of Biden's campaign proposals and the official party platform.

"I am not banning fracking."
—Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee 

"I am not banning fracking," Biden told a crowd. "Let me say that again. I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me."

During a Democratic primary debate in March with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who vocally supports a nationwide fracking ban and has introduced legislation in the Senate that would halt the practice—Biden said there would be "no new fracking" if he was elected, but his campaign later clarified that this would not constitute a full-fledged ban.

Polling continues to show American voters are in fact in favor of more ambitious climate proposals including the Green New Deal.

A new survey from Climate Power 2020, the League of Conservation Voters, and Global Strategy Group last week suggested voter opinion in Pennsylvania—a state with large-scale fracking operations—regarding climate policy "boosts Joe Biden."

"The research shows that not only are Pennsylvania voters supportive of climate action and additional regulations on hydraulic fracturing ('fracking'), engaging in a debate around fracking and climate clearly helps Joe Biden, strengthening his favorability rating and increasing his lead over President Donald Trump in the state," survey authors wrote, in a memo released August 27.

Survey results indicated 83% of respondents believe climate change is a serious problem, and 73% said they support the government "taking bold action to combat climate change." But with Biden's noncommittal attitude toward fracking in particular, and with the Democratic Party's refusal to commit to end fossil fuel subsidies, progressives and activists remain unconvinced.

Journalist Dave Levitan suggested an alternative to Biden's Pennsylvania promise: "Another idea would be to ban fracking," he tweeted.

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