Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Biden's Mixed Messaging on Fracking 'Does Not Bother Me'

During a Sunday interview on CNN, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to what host Jake Tapper described as Joe Biden's "confusing" stance on fracking—with the New York Democrat quipping that she's excited to "lobby" Biden because at least his administration would be open to anti-fracking advocacy.

She said that Biden's seemingly conflicting remarks on a fracking ban don't bother her or other young people who know that Biden would listen to activists and environmentalists— something President Donald Trump would never consider. Ocasio-Cortez said young people and herself are "going to vote for someone who they can lobby."

During the Democratic presidential primaries in the spring, Biden said on multiple occasions he would eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels and fracking. "No, we would work it out. No more, no new fracking," the former vice president said in response to a CNN debate question in mid-March.

But Biden has pulled back on that stance, telling supporters in Pennsylvania Saturday: "I'm not banning fracking, period."

On that subject, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez on CNN's State of the Union: "Do you worry that his opposition to a fracking ban is going to hurt young voter turnout?"

"It does not bother me," Ocasio-Cortez replied. "I have a very strong position on fracking, you know, the science is very clear. The methane emissions are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions in trapping heat in the air. And as far as stopping climate change, there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear he does not agree with a fracking ban and I consider that—it would be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House, but we need to focus on winning the White House first. And I'm happy to make my case, but I understand he is in disagreement on this issue."

Biden's vice presidential running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, appeared to echo Ocasio-Cortez's sentiment that, unlike Trump, she and Biden's administration would seek out scientific consensus and be open to the voices of environmental activists.

"It's not controversial to say that @JoeBiden and I will listen to scientists," Harris tweeted Sunday.

Ocasio-Cortez also said young voters across the country simply want a president and other politicians who are receptive to outside opinions and progressive changes.

"I think young people right now have a very activist, disciplined mindset and they are not here with the intent of voting for their favorite person or voting for someone that they think is perfect as president," the congresswoman said.

"I think young people are actually quite disciplined and quite realistic and pragmatic in their vote, they are going to vote for who they can lobby," she continued. "I think young people are so clear on their stances on many political issues that they believe that they want to vote for a president that is at least going to be receptive to their advocacy, activism and protests, frankly. There is no question that Joe Biden is a much better person in that position to be receptive and actually listen to the voices of advocates than Donald Trump, who is intensely focused on enriching himself and his friends."

In February, Ocasio-Cortez joined Florida Congressman Darren Soto and Senators Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley in introducing the Ban Fracking Act to implement an immediate federal ban on all new federal permits for fracking-related infrastructure. The legislation would ban fracking within 2,500 feet of homes and schools by 2021, and would move to ban fracking practices entirely nationwide by 2025.

"The science is clear: fracking is a leading contributor to our climate emergency. It is destroying our land. It is destroying our water and it is wreaking havoc on our communities' health," Ocasio-Cortez said when announcing her support of the H.R. 5857 at the time. "We must do our job to...immediately ban hydraulic fracking on and offshore."

Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign and Ocasio-Cortez's office for additional remarks Sunday morning.

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Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded Sunday to what CNN host Jake Tapper described as Joe Biden's "confusing" stance on fracking, with the New York Democrat quipping that she's excited to "lobby" Biden because at least his administration would be open to anti-fracking advocacy. Screenshot: YouTube | CNN