Bernie Sanders is a well-known champion of the environment and that’s definitely been the case throughout his Senate career. However, his environmental views have fallen on the backburner over the course of the Democratic nomination process. Until now, that is.
As reported by the New York Times, whilst campaigning in New York, Bernie Sanders has called for a nationwide ban on fracking. Sanders also used the speech as an opportunity to attack his Democratic opponent and current frontrunner Hillary Clinton for both her previous record and current stance on the environment.
Until now, Bernie Sanders has largely focused his presidential campaign on what some would consider to be his more pressing policies. However, Monday saw the senator from Vermont unofficially launch the environmental aspect of his campaign, calling for a nationwide ban on fracking. It’s a testament that will likely sit well with many of Sanders’ supporters who have given their support to Sanders as the most environmentally-concerned candidate on the field.
According to ABC News, the progressive Democratic candidate used the speech as an opportunity to speak at length about his opposition to fracking. He told supporters that climate change needed to be tackled not just in New York or his home state of Vermont, but across the United States as a whole.
As aforementioned, Sanders also used his speech as an opportunity to slam Hillary Clinton’s record on the environment and fracking in particular. In the past, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has supported limited fracking, whilst advocating for strict regulation of the industry. Bernie Sanders also pointed to Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, during which she advocated for the introduction and expansion of shale gas extraction in other countries.
Monday also saw Senator Sanders launch a new 30-second ad to clarify his stance on fracking. He used the ad to distance himself from Hillary Clinton on environmental issues. That particular campaign ad was narrated by one of Sanders’ vocal celebrity supporters, Susan Sarandon.
Throughout his Senate career, fracking has been an incredibly prominent issue for Bernie Sanders. The process is more formally known as hydraulic fracturing and is a technique used to drill for oil and gas. Whilst fracking has undeniably increased the amount of oil and gas produced on American soil, it has also led to a number of health and safety concerns. Activists claim that the effect fracking has on the environment is detrimental, with Bernie Sanders being one of the most vocal opponents in the United States Senate.
Bernie Sanders made his announcement around a nationwide banning of fracking in New York, where the process is already banned. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was forced to enact the ban in the state in December, 2014, because of pressure from environmental activists. During his speech, Bernie Sanders praised those activists for their efforts and told supporters of how the fight must now continue until fracking is banned across the United States.
The first state to ban the process of fracking as a way to extract oil and gas was Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont. Sanders also told supporters about the efforts of some states, including Maryland, to impose a moratorium on the technique, which has prevented its spreading in the state.
New York is largely considered to be an environmentally conscious state, which could explain why Bernie Sanders chose the state as a platform to announce his plans for a ban on fracking. Bernie Sanders will be hoping to pick up the state of New York in their upcoming primary election. New York is, of course, the home state of Hillary Clinton, which could mean a major strategical advantage for Sanders if he wins the state.
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