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John Fetterman calls fracking a ‘stain’ on Pennsylvania, laments own ‘privileged’ life in old Reddit posts

Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman called the Pennsylvania fracking industry a “stain” on the state and recounted his own “extremely privileged” upbringing in Reddit posts during his unsuccessful 2016 run for Senate.

Fetterman, now the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic nominee for Senate, also expressed his support for Sen. Bernie Sanders in posts to the online forum, which have resurfaced as he runs for U.S Senate against Republican Mehmet Oz, a medical doctor and former host of the Dr. Oz Show. 

Environmental activists have criticized Fetterman’s backtrack on hydraulic fracturing — a natural gas extraction method known as fracking — in recent years, but in 2016 he posted support for a moratorium on the practice and wrote that the entire industry was “a stain” on Pennsylvania. 

“I’m not pro-fracking and have stated that if we did things right in this state, we wouldn’t have fracking,” Fetterman wrote in one Reddit post. “The industry is a stain on our state and natural resources. But yes, of course I worry about the viability of getting a ban on fracking done when the industry is already so entrenched in Pennsylvania,” he said, adding that he had “signed the Food and Water Watch’s pledge to end Fracking.”

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In a response to Fox News Digital, campaign spokesman Joe Carvello said Fetterman’s position changed years ago, and he no longer backed a moratorium on new fracking permits.

“John does not support a fracking moratorium or ban,” Carvello said. His position is partly due to the impact a moratorium would have on currently-employed, energy workers.

“John believes that we have to preserve the union way of life for the thousands of workers currently employed or supported by the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania and the communities where they live. We can’t just abandon these people, and tell them to go learn how to code,” Carvello said.

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Fetterman was also a proponent of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, and said in a 2016 Reddit post that “in PA, I’ve got Bernie’s back.” Sanders did not endorse Fetterman’s 2016 Senate run, and has not yet endorsed his current bid, but said in the Reddit post that “it’s important for progressives to stick together when you’re taking on an establishment who would otherwise prefer we stop participating in our democracy.” 

But Carvello sought to distance Fetterman from any national Democrat in the current midterm election cycle.

“John is not like Bernie, or Biden, or any other politician in Washington for that matter. He’s John Fetterman, and there is no one else like him. The people of Pennsylvania understand that, and if Dr. Oz was actually from Pennsylvania, he would too,” Carvello told Fox News.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the front-runner in the 2022 Democratic Senate primary, campaigns at the Steamfitters Technology Center in Harmony, Pa, on March 4, 2022. 

Fetterman worked for years in social activism before he was elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2006. In 2013, during his second term, he chased an unarmed Black man with a shotgun. Fetterman explained later that he had heard automatic gunfire and “made a series of split-second decisions” which resulted in him chasing down the jogger and holding him at gunpoint until police arrived. 

Before his mayoral run, Fetterman said he had an awakening of sorts to the inequality in America after working with AIDS victims in Connecticut.

While with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fetterman “was paired with a little boy who was 8 at the time whose father had just died of AIDS and his mother would die of AIDS about three or four weeks later. I had never, ever seen that kind of disparity, and I became preoccupied with this concept of the random lottery of birth,” Fetterman wrote on Reddit in 2016.

He said this moment prompted him to think of the “massive inequality” within America.

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“Why was I born into incredibly privileged and comfortable existence, and this child, through no fault of his own, was an AIDS orphan by 8 and a half, and was living in an incredibly dangerous section of New Haven?”

Mehmet Oz, John Fetterman

Fetterman said he quit his job and moved to the Hill District, which was “kind of like Pittsburgh’s Harlem, a storied neighborhood and epicenter of culture. But even today—there’s incredible disparity.” There, he opened computer lab, taught GED classes, typing, Microsoft Office to parents before going to Harvard for a graduate degree in public policy.

Fetterman won the Democratic primary for Senate May 17, days after suffering a stroke and receiving surgery for heart condition. Though he’s been absent from the campaign trail, his team says he will return to full time campaigning soon with a little over four months until the November general election.

“John is feeling really well and doing great,” Carvallo said. “He is ready to flip this seat blue and he is putting in the work to do so. John will be on the campaign trail soon, he is 90% back to full strength and getting better every day. As John’s cardiologist said, John ‘should be able to campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem.’ Anyone who says otherwise has no idea what they are f—ing talking about.”

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