Will Bernie Sanders Face Fracking Questions at Colorado Rally?
Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders returned to Colorado this week to rally voters in support of Hillary Clinton. Next, he’ll appear at an event scheduled for later today in support of a statewide ballot initiative “that would create a universal state-administered and financed health care system for Colorado residents.” But the big question now is: will he face questions on fracking?
Sanders’ return to the state comes amid the release of leaked emails, which reveal that Hillary Clinton’s campaign called his ban-fracking platform during the primary “extreme,” “unfeasible” and “irresponsible.” From the emails:
“What does that mean? A complete 100% fracking ban. There is no elected dem and I believe no enviro group that takes this position. In fact, such an extreme position threatens the progress of common-sense safety measures like frack fluid disclosure and methane capture/air quality regulations.”
“The Denver Post Editorial Board could really smack him for this. This is tricky waters for caucus goers but his language may leave him vulnerable.”
Those points were reiterated in what is apparently a draft statement highlighting the economic and climate benefits of fracking:
“Bernie’s call for banning all hydraulic fracturing is, extreme, unfeasible and ignores the contribution natural gas has made to our economy and our efforts to reduce carbon pollution.”
Transcripts of a meeting with labor leaders contained within the leaked emails show that Hillary Clinton campaign sides with labor unions over the extreme anti fossil-fuel agenda pushed by Keep It In The Ground (KIITG), even suggesting those in the movement should “get a life.” In 2015, she told a group of unions:
“I’m already at odds with the most organized and wildest… They are after everything and I’m just talking through them. They come to my rallies and they yell at me and, you know, all the rest of it. They say, ‘Will you promise never to take any fossil fuels out of the earth ever again?’ No. I won’t promise that. Get a life, you know.’”
Clinton went on to say that she wants to defend natural gas:
“Bernie Sanders is getting lots of support from the most radical environmentalists because he’s out there every day bashing the Keystone pipeline. And, you know, I’m not into it for that. My view is, I want to defend natural gas. … I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances.”
With leaders of the Democratic Party quickly working to distance themselves from extreme anti-fossil fuel activism both here in Colorado and nationally, activists will likely want answers from Sanders as to whether he is joining those who understand the economic and climate benefits of fracking, or whether he will stick with them. But one thing is clear: the KIITG, ban-fracking agenda is too extreme for Colorado.