The Corner

Energy & Environment

Yes, Biden Wants to End Fracking

President-elect Joe Biden announces his national security nominees and appointees at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Del., November 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

We know Joe Biden wants to end fracking not only because his campaign literature promised to achieve “a 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero emissions” in a few decades but because he explicitly asserted as much on numerous occasions.

When CNN’s Dana Bash asked Biden during a Democratic primary debate: “Would there be any place for fossil fuels including coal and fracking in a Biden administration?” Biden responded, “No, we would we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated.” When Bernie Sanders said, “I’m talking about stopping fracking, as soon as we possibly can,” Biden replied, “No more, no new fracking.”

In an exchange in New Hampshire during the primary, a voter asked the then-presidential candidate: “But like, what about, say, stopping fracking?” Biden answered: “Yes.”

Yet, when the Trump campaign ran an ad featuring a woman saying, “If Joe Biden’s elected, he’ll end fracking. . . . That would be the end of my job and thousands of others,” the Associated Press, Washington Post,, and many other outlets, threw up a bunch of red herrings to mitigate the damage that this position would cause among independents in places such as Pennsylvania.

Anyway, on his very first day on the job, Biden did what he had promised, using executive power to limit fracking to the best of his ability, stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, establishing a bunch of  new fracking regulations on public lands, and reinstating the pseudoscientific, anti-fracking “Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases.”

In a Forbes article, “Did Biden Break Campaign Promise On Fracking? No—And Here’s Why,” Rachel Sandler makes the acutely irrelevant observation that “the president does not even have the power to ban fracking nationally.” Biden, you see, is only banning the fracking he can ban. Which is tantamount to arguing that Donald Trump never supported a wall on the southern border because he didn’t have the power to unilaterally build it.

No serious person would buy it. Presidential candidates make promises all the time that can only be achieved through legislative means. Presidents don’t actually “cut taxes” themselves, they need the legislatures to write the bills. We still consider “tax cuts” to be the stated position of Republican candidates.

Fact-checkers were right, of course, that Biden wouldn’t end fracking in a single day with a single decree. Because he can’t. Fact-checkers were also right that Biden couldn’t retroactively ban fracking; he could only end “new” fracking.

It’s true, as well, that Biden lied about his position, and the unskeptical press filtered his falsehood through their coverage. Even today, the easiest way to clear up Biden’s position would be for a reporter to snap out of their sycophantic trance and ask the president if he would sign an energy bill that included a national fracking ban. I assume he would, as eliminating fossil fuels is the stated policy aim.


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