Getty Images

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday promised to enact a national ban on fracking if he is president, hitting Hillary Clinton as weak on the issue just days before California’s critical primary.

Sanders said he supports state and county bans on hydraulic fracturing — more commonly known as fracking — the process of injecting water and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock to release oil and natural gas. But he vowed to go further.

{mosads}“I hope very much that Monterey County will continue the momentum that makes it clear that fracking is not safe, is not what we want for our kids,” the second-place Democratic hopeful said at a press conference in Spreckels, Calif.

“If elected president, we will not need state-by-state, county-by-county action, because we are going to ban fracking in 50 states in this country.”

Sanders appeared with local anti-fracking officials and activists. He criticized Clinton, the race’s front-runner, for supporting regulations on fracking and not a wholesale ban on the practice, which has helped fuel a sharp increase in natural gas extraction in the United States.

“Secretary Clinton and I obviously have many, many differences of opinions on many issues, but on the issue of fracking, our differences of opinion are pretty profound,” he said. “I think it is too late for regulation. I think fracking ought to be banned in America.”

Sanders is looking to make inroads with California’s environmentalist community ahead of next Tuesday’s Democratic primary there. He is hoping to capture enough delegates in California and elsewhere to give him momentum ahead of the party’s national convention in Philadelphia in July.

“It’s just possible that we might win it in a significant way,” Sanders said of California. “I think we will be marching into the Democratic National Convention with an enormous amount of momentum.”

Sanders said he intends to compete in the June 14 primary in Washington, D.C., and try winning over individual superdelegates — party leaders who can vote for any candidate — something he will need to do if he hopes to secure the nomination.

He also said Democrats’ platform should endorse a fracking ban.

“I would hope the Democratic Party makes it clear that it has the guts to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the health of our children or the future of our planet,” he said.

Tags 2016 presidential election Bernie Sanders California Hillary Clinton Hydraulic fracturing Natural gas

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video