Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, in the latest installment of his ever-growing climate platform for his presidential campaign, is proposing to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, nationwide.
So far in the 2020 Democratic primary race, Inslee has repeatedly pushed the boundaries of what a comprehensive strategy for combating the climate crisis looks like, previously proposing to retire all US coal plants by 2030, vowing to galvanize $9 trillion in climate-related spending in the next decade, and leading the call for a climate-only debate.
Inslee’s fourth climate proposal, out Monday morning, continues this trend.
In his “Freedom From Fossil Fuels Plan,” which runs 27 pages long, Inslee is the first candidate to propose a blanket fracking ban, likely through an act by Congress. Inslee is effectively saying he wants to ban oil and gas drilling, since most new wells in the US rely on fracking.
In an effort to show his credentials, Inslee noted in the plan that Washington state banned fracking this year. But Washington has minimal oil and gas reserves, so this policy achievement was largely symbolic.
Inslee’s new plan also proposes to ban all new fossil fuel leasing on federal land and offshore waters starting on his first day in the White House. Additionally, he pledges to end fossil fuel subsidies, such as through repealing tax credits that benefit the coal, gas, and oil industries; to put a price on climate pollution; and to require federal agencies apply a “climate test” when considering proposals for new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines.
Some of these proposals have been pushed already by other candidates. For example, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first to propose banning new fossil fuel leases on public lands and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has supported a carbon pricing system.
The Democratic candidates are increasingly blending together on the broader issues around climate change. They’ve basically all said acting on climate change is a top issue, a handful have rolled out detailed climate plans, and already 18 candidates, including Inslee, have signed the “no fossil fuel money” pledge agreeing not to take $200 or more from fossil fuel executives, as well as industry lobbyists and political action committees.