Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate candidates clarified their views on shale gas extraction during last night’s one hour debate.
During the debate, John Fetterman referenced his 2019 support for a proposed fracking site at a steel mill near his home, while also repeating his support for fracking 3-times, in under 11-seconds: “I do support fracking” – “I support fracking” – “I do support fracking.”
Fetterman was referring to a proposed project by Merrion Oil & Gas, which never reached fruition:
Oz drilled much deeper on the fracking topic: “…fracking has been demonstrated, it’s a very old technology, to be safe, it is a lifeline for this Commonwealth to be able to build wealth, similar to what they’re doing and achieved in other states, for that reason I strongly support fracking, drilling, the piping of that natural gas…”
He also offered praise for an existing LNG export terminal near Philadelphia:
Let’s take a closer look at some important Mehmet Oz bullet points:
SAFE? Modern day, slick water, high volume, hydraulic fracturing is not “a very old technology” and the overall process of fracking isn’t “safe” if the constant string of DEP violations in Pennsylvania, and peer-reviewed health studies, are any indication. See my blog: FRACKING ‘GROUNDHOG DAY’ IN WASHINGTON COUNTY, PA
BUILD WEALTH? Since the General Assembly in Harrisburg has refused to institute a severance tax on Pennsylvania’s shale gas, our state is missing out on the same sort of major tax revenue enjoyed by Texas and other US states with drilling. See my May 2022 blog: PENNSYLVANIA’S IMPACT FEE IS ‘CHUMP CHANGE’
JOBS? The oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania isn’t labor intensive, in fact, there are far more jobs related to renewable energy and energy savings. See the ORVI blog: NEW REPORT: OHIO RIVER VALLEY INSTITUTE
ZERO EXPERIENCE: This race marks Oz’s first run for political office.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Amazingly, last night’s debate lacked any questions on the most important issue of our time, especially as it relates to fossil fuels like fracked gas. While Oz didn’t respond to the local League of Women Voters on this issue, we do have John Fetterman’s position:
Q: What measures, regulations, or acts, if any, would you support to mitigate climate change? A: Climate change is an existential threat, and we need to transition to clean energy as quickly as possible. I have never taken a dime from the fossil fuel industry, and I never will. It’s a totally false choice that we have to choose between jobs and a clean environment. We can have both, that’s why I am always going to fight for creating thousands upon thousands of good-paying green union jobs as we transition, all while increasing our energy independence. My plan for the transition to clean energy starts with immediate investments into research and development and innovation; expanding renewable energy sources; and ensuring clean transportation infrastructure; and investing in environmental justice measures. Source: LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS NON-PARTISAN VOTERS GUIDE | October 12-18, 2022
Looking at the big picture in this Senate race
As one of Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators, the elected candidate will have far more to do with legislation that affects all 50 of these United States, not just Pennsylvania, whose future fracking fate will have far more to do with the Shapiro-Mastriano gubernatorial race, as well as state-level elections in each Pennsylvania district.
In a potential 2024 Biden-Trump presidential election, Fetterman would support Biden and Oz would support Trump. When you look at the hundreds of environmental laws and protections wiped-away by the Trump administration during his term in office, and what it has taken to claw back the important protections offered by so many of them, a change in the Senate’s majority from blue to red is of great concern to me and other environmentalists.
While John Fetterman clearly lacked the speed and slickness of a snake oil salesman, he stands for more of the issues that are important in our household, so he maintains his two votes on November 8th here. Shapiro is also our clear choice for Pennsylvania’s next governor.