On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has indicated that she does not support the gas drilling technique known as “fracturing,” or “fracking.” However, in the past, she’s been all for it – even to the point of exporting the technique abroad.
For example, during a debate with then-rival Bernie Sanders during the primaries, Clinton was asked whether or not she supported fracking. Her answer, unlike Sanders’, was equivocal. She replied that she opposed fracking “when any locality or any state is against it…when the release of methane or contamination of water is present, [and] unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.” Calling for strong regulations on current fracking and ways to stop fracking in the future, she said, “By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”
Compare that to what she was saying three years ago. Speaking to officers of Deutche Bank in 2013, she boasted, “I’ve promoted fracking in other places around the world.” In 2014, speaking to a Canadian audience, she bragged about how she was instrumental in expanding natural gas drilling in Europe. During her tenure as Secretary of State, she added a new committee for the promotion of fracking in other countries.
These days, she’s singing a different tune. Earlier this year, she appeared in an ad airing in New York in which she affirmed her opposition to fracking.
So, which is it, Ms. Clinton?
While her earlier remarks in support of fracking are documented, further evidence of her work in supporting fracking has surfaced in a number of emails released by WikiLeaks. They clearly demonstrate the Secretary of State Clinton was doing everything within its power to promote gas exploration and fracking around the world – including countries she has labeled as major polluters, such as China and India. Contrary to her recent statements about local governments, Clinton was determined to demonstrate ways in which “U.S. success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country” – even in places in which local governments have banned fracking altogether. According to those emails, she was attempting to work with major energy companies that included Chevron and Marathon.
So which is it, Ms. Clinton?
It is entirely possible that since her time as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has had a “Come to Jesus” moment on the issue of fracking. She is also above all else a thoroughly experienced and skilled politician. When the People lead and speak out long and loud enough, good politicians tend to start following.
Perhaps Clinton has seen which way the political winds are blowing. The question now is, will she stand by her new opposition to fracking once she is ensconced in the White House? Only time will tell.