PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Referencing a social media post from a fellow senator, Republican Pat Toomey delivered a strong message to everyone in government.
On Friday, Toomey introduced a bill to ban presidents from banning fracking. He introduced his resolution while standing next to a picture of a tweet from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren that says she would ban fracking if elected president.
“Number one, it reaffirms that states are the number one regulators of fracking on state and private lands,” Toomey said. “And it states very clearly that the President of the United States does not have the authority to ban fracking.”
But the Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action called Toomey’s action a political stunt and waste of time.
“He knows that this is not going to go anywhere,” Myron Aronwitt told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Aronwitt says the president does not currently have the authority to ban fracking, except maybe on federal lands.
“Our understanding has always been that to completely ban fracking, you would need Congress to take action and the President would likely have to support that,” Aronwitt said.
Toomey agrees, but says Democratic contenders like Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris think they can ban fracking by declaring a national emergency.
“I don’t think they have the legal authority but apparently they do, and that’s why I think it’s important for Congress to go on record and make it clear — you do not have this authority,” said Toomey.
Toomey acknowledged Democrats are split on this issue.
Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar oppose a ban on fracking, as do many local Democratic leaders like U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, and others.
Toomey says he’s reaching out for their support.
But nobody is predicting both the House and Senate will pass it before next year’s election.