climate change

Would you ban fracking?

Yes, ban all fracking

Yes, ban all fracking

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. Booker supports a ban on fracking, he told The Post. His climate plan calls for "phasing out fracking."

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Cory Booker

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. De Blasio supports banning fracking, he told The Post.

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard is no longer running for president. “Yes, I support a ban on all hydraulic fracking operations,” Gabbard told The Post.

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Tulsi Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, California

Harris is no longer running for president. “There’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking,” Harris said at a CNN town hall. “And starting — and starting with what we can do on day one around public lands, right? And then there has to be legislation, but yes — and this is something I’ve taken on in California. I have a history of working on this issue. And to your point, we have to just acknowledge that the residual impact of fracking is enormous in terms of the impact on the health and safety of communities.” Her climate plan does not include a ban, but mentions closing loopholes, “including the Halliburton Loophole, which exempts the fossil fuel industry from disclosing the dangerous chemicals used in fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” and “immediately halting all new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters.”

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Kamala Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Yes. This year I signed legislation to ban fracking in Washington state, and as president, I would work to end fracking across the country,” Inslee told The Post.

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Jay Inslee

Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders is no longer running for president. “Yes. Fracking is a danger to our water supply. It’s a danger to the air we breathe. It has resulted in more earthquakes. It’s highly explosive. And, to top it off, methane from natural gas is contributing to climate change,” a campaign spokesman told The Post. “Safe fracking is, like clean coal, pure fiction. ... No amount of regulation can make it safe. When [Sanders] is in the White House, he is going to ban fracking nationwide and rapidly move to 100 percent clean, sustainable energy.” Sanders told Colorado Public Radio that a ban wouldn't happen "overnight."

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Bernie Sanders

Joe Sestak (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak is no longer running for president. “Yes. We need to move quickly to renewable energy. Fracking is a danger to public health and the climate,” Sestak told The Post.

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Joe Sestak

Tom Steyer (Dropped out)

Billionaire activist

Steyer is no longer running for president. “Yes, we should ban fracking, but that can’t happen instantly. We need to push as hard as possible to make the transition as fast as possible,” Steyer told The Post. “ We need to stop the expansion of all forms of fossil fuel infrastructure and production. Under my administration no new fracking or other types fossil fuel development would occur on public lands, and we would implement a responsible plan to phase out existing operations. We need to responsibly phase out the existing operations in line with a transition to 100% clean energy while investing in workers and communities.” “The question in all of this is how fast can you change your electricity generation and how can you do it without disrupting the economy,” Steyer said after a New Hampshire town hall. “When you think about this, when you think about the percentage that's fracked, and what the alternatives are, and what it would mean, I'm not sure you can just say there is no fracking for starters. You can say there's no fracking on federal land. You can say, no new federal leases for fracking. I would do that. I think you can push as hard as possible to make the transition as fast as possible.”

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Tom Steyer

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “Yes, I support policies that ban fracking,” Swalwell told The Post. “I was an original cosponsor of the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act of 2017, which defined fracking as a federally regulated activity under the Safe Drinking Water Act and would have required the energy industry to disclose the chemical additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluid. ... I have consistently voted to keep protections in place to minimize dangerous methane emissions.”

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Eric Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren is no longer running for president. Warren supports a ban on fracking, her campaign told The Post.

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Elizabeth Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)


Williamson is no longer running for president. “Put a ban on all fracking operations (oil and gas) while we study the best way to transition away from and phase out these hazardous and extreme extraction techniques,” Williamson’s campaign site said. “This will require planning for the workers and communities that will be most impacted by a transition away from fossil fuel extraction, processing and use called a ‘just transition.’ ”

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Marianne Williamson

Limit it or regulate it better

Limit it or regulate it better

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden opposes new drilling on public lands, but would not call for a nationwide ban on fracking, he said at a CNN climate town hall. “I think we should in fact be looking at what exists now and making a judgment whether or not the those in fact that are there, those wells that are there, whether or not they are dangerous, whether or not they have already done the damage,” he said. His climate change plan calls for “aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations.”

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Joe Biden

Michael Bennet (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet is no longer running for president. “I believe natural gas has a role to play” in transitioning to net-zero emissions “as long as it is developed in a way that protects the health of our communities,” Bennet told The Post. “We need to work as fast as we can to transition to net-zero emissions. That is the first pillar of my climate plan. I believe natural gas has a role to play in that transition. But, that role must be regulated in a responsible way that protects the health of our communities. Which is why I have fought against President Trump’s efforts to it weaken and repeal nearly every standard we had in place for the oil and gas industry since he came into office.”

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Michael Bennet

Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg is no longer running for president. “We need a rapid phase-out of all fossil fuels in order to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. That means stopping the rush to gas and increasing renewables in our energy mix,” Bloomberg told The Post. “Fracking should only be allowed where there are very strong health and environmental protections. It has to be done with strict guidelines and with an immediate focus on stopping methane leaks.” Bloomberg wrote in his 2017 book, that he did not “want to ban fracking (just do it safely) or stop the Keystone pipeline (the oil is coming here one way or another), and I support nuclear power.” He called New York's fracking ban "misguided" in 2015.

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Mike Bloomberg

Steve Bullock (Dropped out)

Governor, Montana

Bullock is no longer running for president. “We must make certain that communities and our drinking water are not harmed by hydraulic fracking — and those same communities must have a voice in the process,” Bullock told The Post. “I believe fracking decisions should be handled by each state, with guidance from federal regulations to include improved disclosure of chemicals, practices for reducing methane emissions, and monitoring of potential water supply impacts.” Bullock opposed federal fracking regulations proposed by the Obama administration in 2013.

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Steve Bullock

Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg is no longer running for president. “I favor a ban on new fracking and a rapid end to existing fracking so that we can build a 100 percent clean energy society as soon as possible,” Buttigieg told The Post.

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Pete Buttigieg

Julian Castro (Dropped out)

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is no longer running for president. “When I was mayor of San Antonio, I did believe that there were opportunities to be had in fracking that was going on in South Texas,” Castro said at a CNN climate town hall. “The thing is that, back then, which was almost a decade ago, we had been saying that natural gas was a bridge fuel. We’re coming to the end of the bridge. And my plan calls for moving toward clean, renewable, zero emission energy in the years to come. That’s what I would focus on. Look, I support local communities and states that want to ban fracking. I have not called for an immediate ban on fracking.” Castro would end leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel extraction and exploration, including for fracking, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

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Julian Castro

John Delaney (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney is no longer running for president. “Not ban, but we need strong regulations to make sure it is done safely,” Delaney’s campaign told The Post.

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John Delaney

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand “has consistently pushed for tough regulations on the fracking industry to ensure the American people have clean water and air. She co-sponsored the FRAC Act, voted against restrictions on the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases related to fracking, and introduced an amendment to repeal the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption for the fracking industry.”

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Kirsten Gillibrand

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “We will transition to 100 percent renewables and, as we make this transition, utilizing our natural gas resources to offset the need for dirtier forms of fuel, such as coal, will remain important,” Hickenlooper told The Post. He wrote in his 2016 memoir that “fracking is good for the country’s energy supply, our national security, our economy, and our environment.”

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John Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar would support regulations on fracking, a campaign spokesman told The Post. “I see natural gas as a transitional fuel. It is better than oil, but it’s not nearly as good as wind and solar,” Klobuchar told a CNN climate town hall. “However, you have situations where you have dangerous fracking that shouldn’t be happening. So as president in my first 100 days, I will review every fracking permit there is and decide which ones should be allowed to be continued and which ones are too dangerous.”

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Amy Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. “Yes, I would support strict environmental protections and regulations, but not a total ban on fracking because doing so would immediately force us back onto dirtier energy sources,” Moulton told The Post. “Regulation should also certainly demand that fracking be done with the strictest environmental and safety requirements, specifically for fracking fluid and its safe transport and disposal. Additionally, methane leaks ... should be very closely monitored, with regulations strictly enforced. Done well, fracking will remain a vital part of our energy sector while we transition away from fossil fuels ...”

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Seth Moulton

Beto O'Rourke (Dropped out)

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke is no longer running for president. O'Rourke “would ban new fracking on public lands and get to net zero emissions by 2050,” his campaign told The Post.

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Beto O'Rourke

Deval Patrick (Dropped out)

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick is no longer running for president. Patrick supports a moratorium on hydraulic fracking “while we develop plans for a carbon-free future,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. The campaign later said that he did not support a permanent ban.

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Deval Patrick

Tim Ryan (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan is no longer running for president. “Every time I drive from Youngstown to the Pittsburgh airport, there's about a five billion-dollar cracker plant," Ryan said after a speech, referring to a facility to “crack” ethane gas. "There are thousands of union workers in western Pennsylvania, in Ohio that are working at that facility. I think it is a very dangerous position to say, not that we've got to use natural gas as a bridge into renewables, but that … if you work at one of those facilities, we're coming to take your job.” He told the post that fracking has become “the ubiquitous method of drilling and has unlocked oil and natural gas from regions all over the country, and in turn provided enormous economic benefits and moved the US towards energy independence. However, we need to significantly ramp up our oversight and regulation of the industry and its practices, especially in regard to its use and disposal of water, as well as methane leaks. ... If the industry cannot rapidly innovate on these issues, I believe the federal government would need to step in and halt fracking operations.”

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Tim Ryan

Andrew Yang (Dropped out)

Tech entrepreneur

Yang is no longer running for president. Yang supports a ban on fracking “in any place that public water quality could be put at risk,” a campaign spokeman said. “He would not be in favor of banning fracking completely, but in most cases.”

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Andrew Yang

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Background The use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to a boom in U.S. oil and gas production in the past decade. Fracking can affect the environment through groundwater contamination, air pollution and noise. Other concerns related to fracking are earthquakes induced by wastewater disposal wells and leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

More in The Trailer: The fracking conversation making swing-state Democrats nervous

How we compiled candidate positions

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether they support various climate change policies. We organized candidates with similar stances into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town halls and other news reports. See something that we missed? Let us know.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.