Environment | National | Politics

Democrat Bernie Sanders calls for a nationwide ban on fracking

Democratic presidential candidate campaigned in Binghamton, New York, on April 11, 2016. Photo from Bernie 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday called for a ban on fracking "everywhere" in the United States, including, presumably, Indian Country.

Speaking in New York, where hydraulic fracturing has already been banned, Sanders said the controversial energy-processing technique is causing major damage to the environment. His comments came ahead of the state's primary next Tuesday.

“The growing body of evidence tells us that fracking is a danger to our water supply, our most precious resource. It is a danger to the air we breathe. It has resulted in more earthquakes. It is highly explosive. And it is contributing to climate change,” Sanders told supporters, according to his campaign.

Some tribes, like the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, do not allow fracking on their lands. Tribal activists like Winona LaDuke, also oppose the practice due to its impacts on water, cultural resources and the environment.

Bernie 2016 on YouTube: No Fracking Anywhere

But other tribes want to be able to control fracking on their reservations. The Ute Tribe of Utah, the Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado and the Coalition of Large Tribes have opposed the inclusion of "Indian lands" in a Bureau of Land Management rule that regulates -- but does not ban -- the practice.

The rule is on hold as a result of a lawsuit that includes the Ute Tribe. At issue is whether federal laws, such as the Act of March 3, 1909, the Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938 and the Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982, authorize the federal government to impose standards on Indian Country in addition to public lands.

Get the Story:
Bernie Sanders Proposes Fracking Ban and Attacks Hillary Clinton on the Environment (The New York Times 4/11)

Federal Register Notice:
Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands (March 26, 2015)

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