Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a long answer for all the situations she’s against hydraulic fracturing, eventually admitting there would be very few places where fracking is legally allowed to take place — a near reverse of her past stance while heading the Department of State.
“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,” Clinton said during the Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Mich. Sunday night.
Clinton is under fire from environmentalists and her primary opponent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for promoting fracking abroad while she served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. While heading the State Department, Clinton travelled the world offering other countries support in their efforts to extract shale gas.
Clinton urged Bulgarian officials to move forward with fracking operations in 2012, despite rising opposition from environmental groups — it’s been claimed such groups are funded by the Russian government. Clinton “agreed to help fly in the ‘best specialists on these new technologies to present the benefits to the Bulgarian people,’” according to liberal outlet Mother Jones.
“The episode sheds light on a crucial but little-known dimension of Clinton’s diplomatic legacy,” Mother Jones reported in 2014. “Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe.”
Clinton didn’t just push fracking in Bulgaria, she also urged African nations develop shale gas resources as a way to grow their economies and find cheap energy to power their cities. For example, South Africa lifted its fracking moratorium in 2012 after the U.S. government gave the country financial and technical assistance with drilling.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Clinton made fracking a major priority for her State Department, including dealing with Latin American countries.
“Now, I know that in some places it’s controversial,” Clinton told people gathered at a 2010 conference on energy development in the Americas. “But natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today, and a number of countries in the Americas may have shale gas resources. If developed, shale gas could make an important contribution to our region’s energy supply, just as it does now for the United States.”
But after being hit hard by Sanders and environmentalists, Clinton reversed course and pledged to phaseout drilling and mining on lands controlled by the federal government — though with the caveat it would be done overtime because “we still have to turn on the lights.”
Clinton went even further during Sunday night’s debate, saying she opposed fracking
“We have to regulate everything that is currently underway, and we have to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones that I just mentions are met,” Clinton said after stating she was against fracking where there is local opposition, methane in the water and without chemical disclosures.