Fetterman’s Anti-Fracking History a Vulnerability in Pennsylvania Senate Race

John Fetterman handily won campaigns for mayor of heavily Democratic Braddock, PA in the 2000s and 2010s and won two statewide Pennsylvania primaries, one for lieutenant governor in 2018 and another for U.S. senator this year. His history of opposing hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking” to extract natural gas didn’t burden him in those races. 

But now the Democratic lieutenant governor faces a general election for U.S. Senate against Republican celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz. And although Fetterman now says he does not support prohibiting fracking, his past support for a fracking ban promises to complicate his appeal to working Keystone Staters on whose livelihoods fossil-fuel development depends. 

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Bill Would Lift Gov. Wolf’s Moratorium on New Leases for Drilling in Pennsylvania

Republicans in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week introduced several measures to boost fossil-fuel production in the Keystone State, including a resumption of new state-land drilling leases.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) imposed a moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development on state-owned areas in January 2015. A bill authored by State Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Wellsboro) would rescind that order and stipulate that all energy exploration performed under any resulting leases be subsurface. That means that the well site must be built off of commonwealth property and that underground channels would reach horizontally into the public lands, allowing for better environmental preservation than older drilling methods.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Urges New Jersey and New York to End Pipeline-Construction Bans

Pennsylvania State Representative Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion) announced Monday he’ll introduce a resolution exhorting New Jersey and New York’s respective governors to allow construction of natural-gas conduits.

In 2014, Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s predecessor Andrew Cuomo (D) banned hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) for natural-gas extraction and thenceforth barred the creation of new natural-gas pipelines. Last month, Hochul endorsed a statewide prohibition of gas power for new buildings, the first such state-level interdiction in the U.S. 

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