Fact Check: Biden Does NOT Propose A Fracking Ban

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis
Fact Check: Biden Does NOT Propose A Fracking Ban Not a Ban

Does former Vice President Joe Biden propose a ban on fracking? No, that's not true: Biden's presidential campaign has said he does not support a ban on fracking by the oil and natural gas industry, although the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee does wants to ban all new oil and gas permits -- including those for new fracking -- on federal land.

The claim that biden would ban fracking appeared in a video ad (archived here) promoted on Facebook by "America F1rst Action," a pro-Trump super PAC. It was posted on August 5, 2020 under the title "JOE BIDEN'S FRACKING BAN:" It opened with a man identified as Shawn, described as a "Union Man" and "Democrat," saying:

I'm sick and tired of being taken for granted. Joe Biden's ban on fracking would put me and everybody I know out of work.

This is what the video looked like on Facebook at the time of posting:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Aug 7 16:54:11 2020 UTC)

As Shawn is speaking, the onscreen text reads:

Joe Biden's fracking ban would kill up to 600,000 Pennsylvania jobs.

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a process that extracts oil and natural gas from the ground. The method includes drilling a couple miles into the ground and pumping fluid into subterranean rock formations at high pressures.

In a March 2020 Democratic primary debate, Biden said he opposed "new fracking," which his campaign later clarified meant no new leases for fracking on federal land.

Although the Biden campaign's plan never directly names "fracking" or "hydraulic fracturing," the former vice president is planning on "banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters," according to his climate plan on the campaign website. He would allow existing fracking operations to persist.

In an April 20 interview with KDKA, a Pittsburgh radio station, Biden said about oil and gas fracking:

No, I would not shut down this industry. I know our Republican friends are trying to say I said that. I said I would not do any new leases on federal lands.

As of 2018, less than 10% of oil and natural gas production takes place on federal land across the U.S.

The ads claim that a fracking ban would cost 600,000 Pennsylvania jobs is pinned to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Energy Institute that estimated Pennsylvania would lose 609,000 jobs if fracking was banned nationwide. But a 2018 study in a Bureau of Labor Statistics publication found that the shale gas production industry in Pennsylvania employed just over 20,000 people in 2016. The Chamber's estimate includes just 21,000 jobs that would be eliminated by 2025, while the rest are jobs in companies that do business directly or indirectly with the industry.

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  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

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