Energy

Emails Show Clinton Thought Bernie’s Fracking Bans Too ‘Extreme, Unfeasible’

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign called Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ pitch for a fracking ban in Colorado “irresponsible,” according to hacked emails from WikiLeaks.

The emails make clear that the Democratic nominee realized that Sanders was running a huge risk advocating an outright ban on fracking in Colorado, a state heavily dependent on gas production.

What does a complete fracking ban in Colorado mean, asked Clinton advisor Brad Komar, according to an email from.

“There is no elected dem and I believe no enviro group that takes this position,” he continued. “In fact, such an extreme position threatens the progress of common-sense safety measures like frack fluid disclosure and methane capture/air quality regulations.”

The email comes from a second batch of illegally obtained emails from Clinton right-hand man, John Podesta. His emails were released Monday by WikiLeaks, bringing the total number of correspondence published by the hacking group through the hack to more than 4,000.

The Clinton campaign also floated the idea of using Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat and proponent of regulating fracking, as an attack dog against Sanders.

“Jared Polis is a regarded as a leader of the regulating fracking team in > CO and his argument is reforms, not a ban,” Komar wrote in an email.

Perhaps the campaign should have researched Polis more thoroughly, because the Colorado Democrat is actually a big fan of fracking bans.

He has a history touting anti-fossil fuel views, telling anti-fracking activists at a rally in 2011 that the oil industry and lobbyists are using “misleading rhetoric” to trick people into supporting fossil fuels. “That’s why your efforts today are so important,” Polis said, referring to the “keep it in the ground” movement.

Polis, who is widely considered one of the wealthiest congressman in the country, shoveled troves of money in May into anti-fracking ballot initiatives in Colorado. He donated $25,000 to the campaign earlier this year.

The initiatives would have allowed local governments to all but ban fracking. One of the initiatives would have required a 2,500-foot distance between hydraulic fracking and public areas like parks or hospitals.

State officials eventually concluded that environmentalists were unable to gather the 98,000 signatures necessary to shoe horn the initiatives onto November’s ballot. Activists filed a legal challenge to this, but ran out of money to support it.

Sanders’ anti-fracking position in the Centennial State was ultimately a losing one, primarily because Colorado is one of the biggest producers of natural gas in the country.

The oil production in Colorado tipped dramatically upward from 2004 to 2014, as Colorado’s natural gas output leaped by 51 percent during that period of time, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Western Colorado, as it turns out, is capable of producing nearly 66.3 trillion cubic feet of gas. That’s a massive uptick from the 1.6 trillion cubic feet estimated in 2003, research shows.

U.S. Department of Energy data show one trillion cubic feet of natural gas is enough to heat 15 million homes for a year, which means, of course, that 40 times that number will probably warm close to hundreds of millions of homes.

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