IMPORTANT VOTING INFORMATION
Background: The use of hydraulic fracturing technology allows energy companies to drill miles-long horizontal wells and extract oil and gas deposits by fracturing shale rock. The natural gas produced reduces a dependence on coal and puts out fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In Colorado, fracking has led to a boom in the energy industry in Colorado, which counts $30 billion in economic impact and thousands of jobs. However, the proliferation of wells and their location near Front Range communities is generating conflict. A shift in political power in 2019 led to a host of new regulations through Senate Bill 181, and some environmental activists want to go further with a ballot initiative to increase the buffer between communities and drilling operations.
Longtime supporter of fracking ban
A: Sanders opposes fracking because he said it pollutes the environment and worsens climate change. Earlier this year, however, he introduced the Ban Fracking Act, which his office says would immediately stop all new federal permits for fracking and prohibit the practice within 2,500 feet, or roughly a half-mile, of homes and schools. In 2025, the federal legislation would ban fracking nationwide. A move to increase setbacks failed at the Colorado ballot in 2018.
Wants national ban on fracking
A: Warren opposes fracking, and called on Congress to pass a national ban on the activity. The senator also plans to beef up the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane rules, which model Colorado’s practice but came under fire from the current administration. Further, she would take executive action to regulate air and water contaminants that result from fracking and other natural gas activities. Warren also proposes creating 10.6 million new jobs in renewable energy through a Green New Deal, which could help current oil and gas workers. “I am committed to leaving no worker behind as we transition to an economy powered on clean energy,” she states on her campaign site.
Criticized other fracking bans as misguided
A: The former mayor’s campaign did not respond directly about whether he supports fracking. However, his campaign told The Washington Post previously that he does not support a fracking ban, and would instead seek to reduce emissions through other policies, like making buildings more energy efficient. In the past, he has criticized New York’s state ban on fracking, calling it “misguided.” Part of his reasoning: natural gas has helped speed the decline of coal, which is a more potent polluter. He would support a temporary moratorium on new fracking leases on public lands to revamp the current regulations.
Supports eventual ban on fracking
A: Steyer supports a ban on fracking -- but not right away. “We need to push as hard as possible to make the transition in a smart way and as fast as we can,” he says. He proposes spending $50 billion to phase out existing operations while investing in new jobs and programs to help workers in affected communities. In addition to halting new leases for fracking on public lands, Steyer also promises to end federal permitting for new fossil fuel infrastructure “on day one.” In years past, Steyer has taken an active role in the anti-fracking movement. He financed legislative candidates in Nevada who backed fracking bans, and called for a ban on fracking in California unless two-thirds of the host county’s voters approve it in a referendum.
Sees natural gas a transition to carbon-neutral fuel
A: Klobuchar did not respond to questions, but it sounds like she does not oppose fracking. In a recent debate, she said: “I actually see natural gas as a transition fuel. It’s a transition fuel to where we get to carbon neutral.” Her campaign platform states that she would reinstate environmental regulations, such as those covering methane emissions, that the Trump administration has rolled back.