Senate candidate John Fetterman, D-Pa., previously signed pledges to ban fracking in Pennsylvania and new fossil fuel leasing nationwide.
Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s current lieutenant governor, agreed to co-sponsor the Keep It In The Ground Act — federal legislation banning new oil, gas and coal leasing on federal lands — and support a complete moratorium on fracking in Pennsylvania, according to an April 2016 Facebook post from Pennsylvania Voters Against Fracking.
The social media post included a picture of Fetterman signing the pledge and a separate picture of his signature on the document.
JOHN FETTERMAN CALLS FRACKING A ‘STAIN’ ON PENNSYLVANIA, LAMENTS OWN ‘PRIVILEGED’ LIFE IN OLD REDDIT POSTS
The pledge had been organized by Food & Water Watch, a left-wing climate group, amid the 2016 election in which Fetterman unsuccessfully ran for Senate.
“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 a Reddit post during the 2016 Senate race. “The industry is a stain on our state and natural resources.”
Fetterman added in the Reddit post that he had signed the Food & Water Watch pledge to end fracking.
In addition, Fetterman said he was opposed to and never supported fracking, during multiple interviews in 2018. He remarked that he wanted to see the fracking industry “transition out.”
During his current campaign, however, Fetterman has walked back his past support for anti-fossil fuel leasing policies.
FETTERMAN CONTINUES TO RECOVER FROM STROKE, TWEETS PHOTO OF FAMILY VISITING HIM IN THE HOSPITAL
“John does not support a fracking moratorium or ban. If you were paying attention to our campaign, you would have known this has not been his position for years and that he was attacked in the primary over his support of fracking,” Fetterman campaign spokesperson Joe Calvello told Fox News Digital in an email on Monday. “In fact, throughout his career John has stood up to politicians to fight for U.S. Steel’s right to build fracking wells.”
“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,” he added.
Calvello said the state “can’t just abandon these people, and tell them to go learn how to code.”
“It’s very reminiscent of Joe Biden during the campaign in 2020,” Nathan Benefield, the senior vice president of the Pennsylvania-based Commonwealth Foundation, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “He took a stance saying he supported a ban on fracking then his campaign walked it back and said, ‘no, that’s not what he meant.'”
“It’s really trying to have it both ways — appealing to the environmental left, but also appealing to blue collar and trade unions who are dependent on those type of jobs in fracking and supported by the natural gas industry,” Benefield continued.
Overall, the fossil fuel industry in Pennsylvania supports about 50,547 jobs, a 2021 report published by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection showed.
Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. behind only Texas, according to the Energy Information Administration. Driven largely by its natural gas production and power plant generation, Pennsylvania is the largest electricity exporter in the country.
Fetterman is currently running against Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, a doctor and former talk show host. Recent polls show Fetterman with a slim lead over Oz.