Last night’s Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas showed leading Democratic candidates, including front-runner, Bernie Sanders, promising to ban petroleum industry fracking. Elizabeth Warren also promised to end hydraulic fracking last night, with Michael Bloomberg being the sole candidate not promising to end the economic boon so important to the Big Sky State.
Currently, hydraulic fracking has been an important technology to increase Montana petroleum production. The technology was first used in the Williston Basin in 2008 and helped the Bakken create more than 100 million dollars per year for Montana’s economy and provide nearly six percent of revenue for the Montana state government.
NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Bernie Sanders what he would tell workers in Pennsylvania, a swing state where fracking is a major industry. Sanders replied to Todd that he would tell workers of the need to act “incredibly boldly” to stop “irreparable” global damage from climate change.
Last month, Bernie Sanders submitted a bill to the U.S. Senate, interestingly enough drafted by U.S. House member, Andrea Ocasio Cortez, that would ban fracking by 2025. The legislation would immediately prevent federal agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking, new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.
Sanders told the press, “Fracking is a danger to our water supply. It’s a danger to the air we breathe, it has resulted in more earthquakes, and it’s highly explosive. To top it all off, it’s contributing to climate change.”
However, scientists are in general agreement that contrary to Democratic opinion, there is no empirical support for the conclusions that fracking hurts our water supply.