Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Image courtesy of AFGE/Wikimedia Commons.

Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that his administration would institute a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing.

At an event in California, Sanders applauded efforts by some California counties to ban hydraulic fracturing, calling fracking “not safe” and “not what we need for our kids.”

Sanders said his administration would ban fracking in all fifty states.

“Let me make it as clear as I can be. That if [I’m] elected president we will not need state-by state, county-by-county action, because we are going to ban fracking in fifty states,” Sanders said during the press stop.

Vermont, where Sanders has served as a U.S. Senator since 2007, instituted the nation’s first full fracking ban in 2012.

At the event, Sanders called fracking a “danger to our water supply” and claimed the practice “can cause lung cancer” and is “highly explosive.”

Those comments put Sanders at odds with other top Democrats who have called for tighter fracking regulations but have resisted federal bans.

Sanders has criticized his opponent, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, for supporting hydraulic fracturing both at home and abroad during her tenure at the State Department.

Sanders said Wednesday that he believes “it is too late for regulating.”

“I think fracking has got to be banned in America,” Sanders said.

At a debate in March, Clinton reaffirmed that her administration would support tighter water safety regulations and call for more disclosures about chemicals used during the fracking process.

Clinton has also said she would honor state and local bans on fracking.

“So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place,” Clinton said during a debate in Flint, Michigan earlier this year.

Sanders’ comments come about a week after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump voiced his support for U.S. oil and gas drilling.

During an energy policy speech in North Dakota, Trump said called environmental enforcement efforts a “totally self-inflicted wound” on U.S. production and said he would lift drilling moratoriums in federal areas.

“America’s incredible energy potential remains untapped,” Trump said at the event.

Trump said his administration would declare “American energy dominance…a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States.”

Despite falling rig counts, the United States was once again the world’s largest petroleum hydrocarbons producer in 2015, a position held since 2013.

The U.S. petroleum supply grew by 1 million barrels per day in 2015 while U.S. natural gas production increased by 3.7 billion cubic feet per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


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