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Fetterman and Oz at odds over natural gas, environmental concerns – The Hill

Story at a glance

  • Since the early 2000s, natural gas development rapidly expanded across Pennsylvania, but its extraction and processing poses environmental and health harms.

  • Throughout their campaigns, candidates have weighed in on the sector and the role regulations play in protecting human health and jobs.

  • The outcome of the election will be pivotal in determining whether Republicans take control of the Senate in November.

The Pennsylvania Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz has made national headlines, not only because its outcome could determine which party takes control of the chamber come November, but for personal jabs made by each candidate taking aim at everything from personal health to puppy-killing pasts

But largely absent from the headlines are the candidates’ respective views on the state’s massive natural gas industry, and both the jobs and hazards that come with it.

In a state with a history of strong union values and pioneering environmental programs, Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman is vying to gain support from two groups of constituents that often hold contrasting end goals. 

A pro-union candidate, Fetterman is fighting for the blue collar vote in the traditionally red, rural areas of Pennsylvania, promising to “preserve the union way of life” for the thousands of workers employed by the state’s natural gas industry. 

However, a self-proclaimed environmental justice advocate, Fetterman concedes climate change is an “existential threat” and supports the transition to clean energy “as soon as possible.”

The balancing act may ultimately pitch the economic interests of the second-highest producer of natural gas in the country with the health and environmental risks of natural gas extraction and production.  

Earlier this week, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved the race from its “lean Democrat” column to “toss up,” as polling data shows Fetterman’s slight lead over Oz is shrinking

A closer look at the positions

Although Fetterman previously supported a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) during his 2016 senate run, he later reversed his position following Governor Tom Wolf’s introduction of new regulations on the industry. 

But some question the efficacy of Fetterman’s current dual approach. 

“I think he’s making a play for blue collar voters and for rural voters, but it’s more based on style and nativism than really issue substance, and that’s his problem,” Republican political consultant Keith Naughton told Changing America. “It’s hard closing the deal, unless you’re addressing people’s concerns on the issue front.” 

A September poll from CBS News shows the economy, inflation and crime are among the top concerns for Pennsylvania voters ahead of the midterm election. 

Naughton also noted attacks on the natural gas industry in…

Read More: Fetterman and Oz at odds over natural gas, environmental concerns – The Hill

2022-10-08 05:01:28

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