President Trump accused Democratic nominee Joe Biden of misleading voters with a promise to allow fracking and said Pennsylvania – a key swing state with a booming industry that employs the drilling method to extract oil and gas – "will never go for" the former vice president.
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Trump has repeatedly claimed Biden, a native of Pennsylvania and longtime Delaware senator, will ban fracking if he becomes president, but Biden has consistently said that's not part of his agenda.
"Energy costs would triple if they didn't do fracking," Trump said during an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday morning.
The night before, however, Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., reiterated that Biden has no plans to ban fracking. Harris herself, who mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, has supported a ban on the practice but acknowledges her view is different from the former vice president's.
"I will repeat, and the American people know, that Joe Biden will not ban fracking," she said during a debate with incumbent Vice President Mike Pence. "That is a fact."
Instead, Biden has said he would tighten restrictions on oil and gas development and prevent drilling on federal land, which makes up only a small portion of the nearly 1 million wells in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Land Management. Wells on private property make up approximately 90% of all of the country's wells, and Biden cannot unilaterally regulate them.
During the debate, Pence slammed Harris for her record on fracking and conflated her opinion with Biden's.
“The both of you repeatedly committed to abolishing fossil fuel and banning fracking," Pence accused.
Trump himself called Harris a "communist" and a "monster" on Wednesday, arguing that Pence won the debate and repeatedly claiming that Biden denounced fracking.
Pennsylvania, where the fracking industry accounts for between 20,000 and 50,000 jobs, is split on the drilling method, with 52% of voters opposed to fracking and 48% for it, according to a recent poll by CBS News.
Some 45% of voters think Trump could best handle "issues surrounding oil-and-gas exploration," while only 42% said the same for Biden.
Trump snatched a victory in 2016 in the predominantly blue state when he won his White House battle with Hillary Clinton, but Biden's lead on Trump has ramped up to 11 percentage points in the last month, according to a poll by Monmouth University released Tuesday.
Trump is still recovering from COVID-19, forcing him to slash campaign visits to Pennsylvania, one of three Great Lake states he must hold on to in order to remain in office.