Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was questioned several times over the weekend about his position on whether the United States would “transition” away from the oil industry.
Biden said that he “would transition from the oil industry” during his debate last week with President Donald Trump, who replied, “That’s a big statement.” Biden agreed, saying it is a “big statement.”
In several local news interviews, Biden responded to questions about the comment and fracking. Trump has repeatedly said that Biden would ban fracking.
“Look I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania. My great-grandfather was a mining engineer. So I come from coal country. And I’m not talking about eliminating fracking, I just said no more fracking on federal lands,” Biden told CBS Philadelphia. “With regard to gas, oil, coal all of it, the transition is taking place, having nothing to do with anything I’m proposing. The fact is that the fastest growing industries in the country are solar and wind.
“We can move in a direction where the transition takes place, so that people are not left behind, and we’ve got to invest in the new technologies.”
Biden then attempted to clarify his comment during the debate, saying that wanted to “stop the subsidies for oil,” adding that the United States should “invest it in new technologies for what they call carbon capture. We’re going to still need oil,” as reported by WNEP.
Despite the clarification, Trump and his allies seized on his debate comment, namely as Trump campaigns in Pennsylvania, which uses fracking to produce natural gas. Pennsylvania is second to Texas in terms of natural gas production.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News over the weekend said that transitioning from oil would be destructive to the economy.
“If we go out of the oil and gas business, millions of Americans will lose their job. Everybody who produces oil in the Middle East will be stronger,” Graham said. “We will lose our energy independence. If we go down the road charted by Biden and Harris, China and India will be the biggest winners.”
Biden, speaking to WBRE in Wilkes-Barre, said he would “not ban fracking,” adding that he favors “no fracking on federal land.”
“The natural gas industry … and oil is not going to be fundamentally changed,” he added. “They’re already in transition. What I’m saying is that we will not continue to subsidize, give tax breaks to the oil companies which amount to $40 billion. They will not get that, and that money will be put into research and development to figure out how to carbon capture what’s coming off of gas and oil.”