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Aug. 1 — States and local communities should have the ability to enact bans on hydraulic fracturing if they wish, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in a local television interview, breaking with his party's traditional stance on the issue.
“I’m in favor of fracking, but I think that voters should have a big say in it,” Trump said in an interview with Denver's KUSA posted July 29. “If a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that.”
Republicans across the country have vigorously fought efforts to enact local fracking bans and have opposed federal regulations on the practice. Trump's rival for the presidency, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has also supported local fracking bans.
Ironically, the New York businessman criticized his home state's decision to ban fracking during an April 2016 interview with an area radio station, according to local press reports.
“As you know, we didn’t take advantage of our energy situation, and now it’s very late because the prices are so much lower,” Trump said at the time of the state's decision in late 2014 to ban the practice. “It’s just so incredible and we never took advantage.”
His most recent comments came as Clinton told a local television station in Pittsburgh of her plans to bring back coal communities through new technologies and clean energy development.
“If we put our minds to it, we’re going to revitalize coal country,” the former secretary of state, New York senator and first lady told KDKA July 30. “Towns that have been knocked flat, we’re going to help them get up. We can do that with infrastructure, with advanced manufacturing. We can do that with clean energy.”
Clinton expressed confidence the area's struggling steel manufacturing could come back but called coal a separate situation.
“Coal is a different issue because we’ve got to figure out — is there a technology that can create clean energy from coal?” she said.
Those comments come even as Trump, speaking July 27 at a rally in Scranton, Pa., doubled down on his promise to bring coal miners back to work. As before, he offered no details as to how that would be done.
“We're going to bring our coal back, and we're going to have clean coal,” Trump promised. “We're going to take a lot of the regulations off of gas, because gas is big, and they want to close you down. They want to close the mines down. They've been closing mines down. It's sad. It's sad.”
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