The Vermont senator began his day speaking to an estimated 5,000 people in Binghamton and by releasing a new television ad that called for the end of fracking across the country. Mr. Sanders said Mrs. Clinton has advocated for natural gas pipelines that will hurt the environment, and that as secretary of state she had rewarded companies through fracking expansions. He also expressed support for climate change activists who rallied to get fracking banned in New York.
Fracking, or more formally hydraulic fracturing, is a technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a significant increase in American energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, after a high-pressure campaign by environmental advocates, banned fracking in New York State in December 2014.
“I want to applaud you for standing up to Governor Cuomo and demanding that New York State ban fracking,” Mr. Sanders said to loud applause. “What you have done is prove to the world that when people stand up and form a grass-roots movement of environmentalists and public health advocates, farmers, working families and religious leaders, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”
The senator also pushed back against many who question whether Mr. Sanderss proposed policies — a single-payer health care system, tuition-free public colleges and an expansion of Social Security — are achievable.
“What may have been considered unrealistic or pie in the sky just a few years ago has now been achieved in New York because you made it happen,” Mr. Sanders said. “The growing body of evidence tells us that fracking is a danger to our water supply, our most precious resource. It is a danger to the air we breathe. It has resulted in more earthquakes. It is highly explosive. And it is contributing to climate change.”
The senator added that Vermont was the first state in the nation to ban fracking and that Maryland last year imposed a moratorium on the technique.
Mr. Sanders also stressed that he and Mrs. Clinton have “very strong differences of opinion” on the issue.
“Secretary Clinton’s role in fracking when she was secretary of state is not a good record,” Mr. Sanders said. “Secretary Clinton and her State Department worked to export fracking throughout the world.”
The senator added that Mrs. Clinton used fracking to reward companies like Chevron, Haliburton, and Exxon Mobil and that he, as president, would push to end fracking everywhere.
Mr. Sanders also said Mrs. Clinton was late to opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline and that she does not support legislation he introduced calling for a carbon tax to discourage the use of greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels. He also pointed out that unlike Mrs. Clinton, he opposes offshore drilling and would end leases for the extraction of fossil fuel on public lands.
Soon after the senators speech in Binghamton, the Sanders campaign released a new ad featuring the actress Susan Sarandon, one of Mr. Sanders’s most visible surrogates.
Do Washington politicians side with polluters over families? Ms. Sarandon says in the 30-second spot. They sure do, because big oil pumps millions into their campaigns. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate for president who opposes fracking everywhere. Why? Because fracking pumps dangerous cancer-causing chemicals into the ground and threatens our drinking water. Bernie. He cant be bought by them, because hes funded by you.