Tags: 2020 Elections | Donald Trump | Joe Biden | Unions | pennsylvania | fracking | fossil fuels

Pennsylvania Fracking Workers Split on Backing Biden

warning sign for a natural gas pipeline outside a gate is shown
A MarkWest Liberty natural gas pipeline and fracking well cap is seen in Valencia, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 14, 2020.  (Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo)

By    |   Friday, 23 October 2020 07:58 AM

Democrat Joe Biden says he won't ban the practice of fracking if he becomes president, but his message is getting lost and some union members in Pennsylvania don't believe him.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Biden, whose semi-neutral stance on hydraulic fracturing has earned him support from many unions whose members work in the industry, does not intend to put an end to the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil from deep in the earth.

But other members in the industry — particularly in Pennsylvania, the second-highest producer of natural gas behind Texas — either don't believe Biden when he says he wouldn't ban fracking or are only familiar with President Donald Trump's pro-fracking stance.

"People are unfamiliar with Joe Biden's fracking plan," Jim DePoe, vice president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 29, told the Post. "They listen to the president's plan."

Keith Thurner, a business manager at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95, said his members are split on supporting Trump or Biden.

"I would say it’s a 50-50 split in membership of who's supporting who," he said. "Even though International has endorsed Joe Biden, we have stepped back from that. We let the membership know what the International does. But there's so many undecideds or folks on either side."

Trump has made his pro-fracking and pro-fossil fuels stance clear since he first ran for president in 2015. Many members of the Democratic Party oppose fracking, including the progressive members of the "squad" — who in 2019 unveiled the Green New Deal.

Biden has given mixed messages on fracking, but his campaign insists he won't ban it. He does, however, support tighter regulations of the industry to protect the environment.

Pennsylvania is a key swing state. RealClearPolitics shows Biden with a lead of 4.9 percentage points in the state that Trump won four years ago. Before that, the Democratic Party's presidential candidate won the state from 1992-2012.

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Democrat Joe Biden says he won't ban the practice of fracking if he becomes president, but his message is getting lost and some union members in Pennsylvania don't believe him. The Washington Post reported Friday that Biden, whose semi-neutral stance on hydraulic fracturing...
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2020-58-23
Friday, 23 October 2020 07:58 AM
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