Fact Check: Does Joe Biden's Executive Order Ban Fracking?

President Joe Biden has made it clear early in his term that he is dedicated to combating climate change.

One of the executive orders he has signed deals with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building up the renewable energy industry.

Biden has received criticism from conservatives who have talked about the potential job loss by targeting industries that handle fossil fuels.

The Claim

Fracking, which is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside, became a hot-button issue during the 2020 presidential campaign, as President Donald Trump often claimed Biden would ban the oil- and gas-harvesting practice, hurting people in swing states such as Pennsylvania.

Biden's plan to prioritize climate action and reports from the Washington Post and the New York Times of a new executive order aimed at oil and gas drilling reignited fears that fracking would end.

Antoine Tucker, a QAnon supporter who received no votes as a write-in candidate for the seat of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in November, according to Ballotpedia, and has a U.S. Senate campaign website, tweeted on Tuesday that Vice President Kamala Harris lied when she said Biden would not ban fracking.

This was a lie 👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/UOyStE4ZdC

— 🇺🇸 Antoine Tucker for U.S. Senate (@montaga) January 26, 2021

The Facts

Biden on Wednesday signed the Executive Order on Tackling Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad to "pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents."

The order directs the Secretary of the Interior to "pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices" including "potential climate and other impacts associated with oil and gas activities on public lands or offshore waters."

This expands upon the 60-day moratorium on new oil and gas leasing or drilling permits on federal land Biden enacted last week.

Who could possibly have predicted this? https://t.co/Q2scPQFtE4

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 24, 2021

Biden's order does not issue a total ban on all existing and future fracking operations. His plan stops new fracking opportunities on federal land.

In a statement Wednesday, the Department of the Interior said the pause "does not impact existing operations or permits for valid, existing leases" and does not restrict energy activities on private or state land.

Tucker's tweet on Tuesday shows a screenshot of an October 7, 2020, tweet from Harris on the night of the vice presidential debate.

During the debate, then-Vice President Mike Pence claimed that Biden would eliminate fracking if he was elected.

"Joe Biden will not end fracking," Harris replied. "He has been very clear about that."

I set ambitious goals of achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Today, I took bold action to advance those goals.

— President Biden (@POTUS) January 27, 2021

Early in the campaign, Biden's position on fracking was pressed at debates and town halls.

"I think we should in fact be looking at what exists now and making a judgment whether or not the those in fact that are there, those wells that are there, whether or not they are dangerous, whether or not they have already done the damage," he said during a CNN climate town hall.

At a Democratic primary debate in 2019, CNN's Dana Bash asked Biden if there would be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in his administration.

"No, we would--we would work it out," Biden said. "We would make sure it's eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either--any fossil fuel."

According to CNN, Biden's campaign clarified afterward that he "supports eliminating subsidies for coal and gas and deploying carbon capture."

At a primary debate in March 2020, Biden also said he was against "new fracking." His campaign clarified to reporters that Biden was reiterating his plan to ban oil and gas permits on public land, not a complete ban on new fracking, which a president cannot do, according to CNN.

In a press conference before the executive order was signed Wednesday, Biden reiterated that he will not ban fracking.

President Biden: "Let me be clear, and I know this always comes up, we're not going to ban fracking."

Full video here: https://t.co/0rA79YeeHU pic.twitter.com/cZB5wVXtuG

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 27, 2021

The Ruling

Mostly false.

Biden's position during the campaign was never to totally ban fracking, but rather to limit fracking and stop new extraction of oil or gas on federal lands.

The executive order issued Wednesday aligns with his position during the campaign.

President Joe Biden speaking
President Joe Biden Biden on January 27, 2021, signed the Executive Order on Tackling Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

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