Less than two weeks before Election Day, a new Trump campaign ad scheduled to air in Pennsylvania misleadingly portrays former Vice President Joe Biden’s stance on fracking, a drilling method used to extract oil or natural gas.
Interspersed with a testimonial from a fracking technician, the ad claims Biden will end fracking, and features among others a tightly cut clip of him saying: “No new fracking.”
Facts First: Biden is not running on a proposal to completely ban fracking and it was never part of his written plan. That being said, he has previously created confusion about his stance over the course of the campaign, first with some of his comments during the Democratic primaries and then again during the final presidential debate on October 22.
The clip featured in the ad is from an exchange Biden had with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders about climate change during a March 15 debate. That same evening, the Biden campaign clarified to reporters that Biden was reiterating his plan to ban oil and gas permits on public land, not a complete ban on new fracking, which a president cannot do.
Biden’s written plan proposes “banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters,” not ending all new fracking anywhere or ending all existing fracking on public lands and waters. Biden has explicitly said he does not support a nationwide fracking ban (though in part because he doesn’t believe such a ban would pass). However, he’s also pledged to “establish an enforcement mechanism to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050,” which would almost certainly require a significant reduction in fracking.
There is some basis for the Trump campaign’s continued attacks against Biden’s stance on fracking. During the July 2019 Democratic primary debate, CNN’s Dana Bash asked whether there would be “any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration?” to which Biden responded, “No, we would — we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either — any fossil fuel.”
During the final presidential debate, Trump referenced these past remarks from Biden, prompting the former vice president to falsely insist he never said he opposed fracking. Biden then tried to clarify his position and claimed his past opposition was specifically about fracking on federal land only. While it’s untrue for Biden to say he never voiced an opposition towards fracking, it’s also inaccurate for Trump to claim Biden’s current plan is to end fracking if elected.