Sanders: ‘My answer is a lot shorter’ than Clinton on fracking

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersOPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? OPINION | They told us to abandon ObamaCare — then came the resistance OPINION | Shailene Woodley: US should run on renewable energy by 2050 MORE on Sunday night mocked Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonOPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. represented spy agency: report Poll: Most say Trump Jr. should not have met with Russian lawyer MORE’s numerous conditions for allowing hydraulic fracturing operations.

“My answer is a lot shorter,” he said, responding to a debate question about whether the candidates support fracking, a procedure in which pressurized water and chemicals are injected into the ground to release oil and natural gas.

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“No, I do not support fracking,” he said to cheers from the debate crowd in Flint, Mich.  

Clinton said she opposes individual fracking operations if a series of conditions are met: if local communities oppose it, if the drilling releases methane or contaminates water or if fracking operators aren't required to identify the chemicals they are using.

“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,” she said.

“First, we’ve got to regulate everything that is currently underway, and we’ve got to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones I have mentioned are met.”

The federal government has limited regulatory power over fracking except when it happens on federal land. State and local governments, though, have tried to regulate the practice to varying degrees. New York has banned fracking, while the Texas Legislature blocked its cities from limiting the practice on their own.  

Sanders, though, said he opposes fracking across the board. He said governors, even Democrats, who allow fracking in their states are wrong for making an economic argument in favor of the technique.

“I talk to scientists who tell me fracking is doing terrible things to water systems all over this country,” he said.

“We’ve got to be bold now. We’ve got to transform our energy system to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We have to do it yesterday.”