Biden stuns Trump by pledging to ‘transition’ from oil-and-gas industry

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Thursday that he would “transition” away from the oil-and-gas industry even as he continued to deny that he would ban fracking.

Asked by President Trump during the presidential debate if he would “close down the oil industry,” Mr. Biden replied, “I would transition from the oil industry, yes.”

Mr. Trump replied, “That’s a big statement,” and Mr. Biden agreed, saying, “It is a big statement.”

Why? “Because the oil industry pollutes significantly,” said Mr. Biden, adding, “Because it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time.”

Mr. Trump pounced on his opponent’s pledge, saying, “That’s maybe the biggest statement — in terms of business, that’s the biggest statement, because basically what he’s saying is he’s going to destroy the oil industry.”

“Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania? Oklahoma?” asked Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump also accused his Democratic foe of wanting to ban fracking, while Mr. Biden insisted that “I never said I oppose fracking” while reiterating that he wants to prohibit hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

“I do rule out banning fracking because we need other industries as a transition to get to ultimately complete zero emissions by 2025,” said Mr. Biden. “What I will do with fracking over time is make sure that we can capture the emissions from the fracking, capture the emissions from gas. We can do that and we can do that by investing money in doing that. It’s a transition to that.”

Mr. Trump retorted, “He was against fracking. He said it,” prompting Republicans to post video clips on social media of Mr. Biden criticizing fracking.

At the March 15 Democratic primary debate, Mr. Biden said, “No more, no new fracking.” At a September 2019 appearance, he said, “I guarantee you, we are going to end fossil fuel.”

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