April 14, 2016

Fracking to be center stage at tonight’s Democratic debate

Climate activists call on candidates to stand against fracking


Contact: Lindsay Meiman, 350 Action, (347) 460-9082

New York, NY — As all eyes focus on tonight’s Democratic debate, fracking is expected to be front and center as candidates meet in New York, one of the only states with a ban on fracking. Ahead of next Tuesday’s highly anticipated New York primary, opposition to fracking and ties to fossil fuel interests will be pivotal in defining each candidate’s climate platforms, according to the grassroots climate organization 350 Action.

“The statewide ban on fracking in New York was a huge victory for community health and safety,” said Linda Capato, Jr., spokesperson for 350 Action. “But the people who won the ban on fracking in New York are not the only ones with deep concern over fracking and the climate, and candidates need to focus on gaining their support in tonight’s debate and in upcoming states.”

Tonight’s debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a site that was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, is only miles from the starting point of the People’s Climate March, where in September 2014 over 400,000 people joined in the streets of New York City to demand climate justice from world governments. The march was led by communities on the front lines of environmental and climate justice fights: from African-American leaders impacted by Hurricane Sandy, to indigenous leaders fighting tar sands in their backyard.

Throughout the course of the election, activists have pushed Democratic candidates to express stronger stances on climate than ever before, including Secretary Clinton expressing opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, offshore drilling, fracking on public lands, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and calling for a Department of Justice investigation into Exxon’s climate crimes, as well as Senator Sanders coming out against the NED and Enbridge pipelines.

Yesterday, at the National Action Network, Hillary Clinton announced a new environmental and climate justice plan for combatting what Clinton describes as “environmental racism.”

Clinton recently expressed her support of New York’s statewide ban on fracking. Despite this, activists are incredibly troubled by Clinton’s deep historical ties to the fossil fuel industry, particularly her promotion of fracking during her tenure as Secretary of State. Across the country, fracking is often considered a root cause of the poor air and water quality experienced by many low-income communities and communities of color.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has repeatedly called for a sweeping ban on fracking, though he has yet to reveal a plan specifically focused on tackling the disproportionate impacts of climate change and environmental issues.

“Clinton has ramped up plans to tackle climate change, and yet she’s still referring to natural gas as a potential bridge fuel,” said Capato, Jr. “Tonight’s debate will be pivotal for candidates to take strong stances against fossil fuel interests. No matter how you slice it, natural gas is a fossil fuel, and the only safe place for fossil fuels is in the ground.”

350 Action has not endorsed any presidential candidate and is working in primary states to urge candidates for president to take bold action on climate change by pledging to keep fossil fuels in the ground and support a just transition to a 100% renewable energy economy that works for all.