Presidential candidate and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders renewed his call for a ban on fracking on Wednesday, but how many jobs would disappear if his policy went into place?
"Any proposal to avert the climate crisis must include a full fracking ban on public and private lands," Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday ahead of CNN's climate change town hall for 2020 Democratic candidates.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as "fracking," is a method of extracting natural gas and petroleum from the earth by injecting pressurized liquid into rock formations.
More than 162,000 Americans work in natural gas mining and extraction, according to a 2019 report by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). More than 625,000 Americans work in the natural gas industry as a whole.
Sanders, a proponent of the Green New Deal, joins with opponents of fracking who say the practice risks leaking contaminants into groundwater and causes earth tremors. He called for a fracking ban while running for president in 2016.
Meanwhile, industry proponents have argued that fracking adds to the natural gas supply and cuts energy costs for people across the board. The Global Energy Institute, an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, published a report in 2016 claiming that the U.S. would lose 14.8 million jobs by 2022 if a fracking ban were instituted.
"Bernie has fought for workers his entire career. Let's be clear: workers in the natural gas industry are not his enemy. Fossil fuel workers have powered the country for more than a century," Sanders campaign spokeswoman Sarah Ford told FOX Business.
"[Bernie's] plan will prioritize the fossil fuel workers who have powered our economy for more than a century and who have too often been neglected by corporations and politicians. We will guarantee five years of a worker's current salary, housing assistance, job training, health care, pension support, and priority job placement for any displaced worker, as well as early retirement support for those who choose it or can no longer work," Ford continued.
Sanders' $16 trillion climate change plan is the most expensive out of all the 2020 candidates'.