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Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025

The Hill logo The Hill 2/3/2020 Rachel Frazin
Bernie Sanders et al. posing for the camera: Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025 © The Hill Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025

A bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) helped craft would ban fracking nationwide by 2025, according to its newly unveiled text.

The legislation would immediately prevent federal agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking, new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.

A House version of the legislation is being spearheaded by Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Darren Soto (D-Fla.).

By Feb. 1, 2021, permits would be revoked for wells where fracking takes place and that are within 2,500 feet of a home, school or other "inhabited structure." The wells would be required to stop operations.

Fracking for oil and natural gas would become illegal "on all onshore and offshore land in the United States" by Jan. 1, 2025.

The legislation follows up on Sanders's campaign promise of a fracking ban if he's elected to the White House. It was introduced the week before Monday's Iowa caucus, which kicks off the 2020 presidential nominating contest.

"Fracking is a danger to our water supply. It's a danger to the air we breathe, it has resulted in more earthquakes, and it's highly explosive. To top it all off, it's contributing to climate change," Sanders said in a statement.

"If we are serious about clean air and drinking water, if we are serious about combating climate change, the only safe and sane way to move forward is to ban fracking nationwide," he added.

In a statement, Ocasio-Cortez said fracking is a contributor to "our climate emergency."

"The science is clear: fracking is a leading contributor to our climate emergency. It is destroying our land. It is destroying our water and it is wreaking havoc on our communities' health," Ocasio-Cortez said in the statement.

The legislation is backed by environmentalists but has been slammed by industry groups.

"Sen. Sanders' fracking ban bill is desperately needed if we're going to stop the climate crisis," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, in a statement. "This is the big, bold action that's required so future generations can have a livable planet."

An oil industry spokeswoman said the practice of fracking is safe and banning it would lead to a "spike in household energy costs."

"Banning a safe, successful method of developing energy would erase a generation of American energy progress and in the process destroy millions of U.S. jobs, spike household energy costs and hurt farmers and manufacturers," American Petroleum Institute spokeswoman Bethany Aronhalt told The Hill in a statement last week following initial announcement of the bill.

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