Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., while announcing his 10-point plan to end the plastics pollution crisis, said he would ban fracking.
The process of fracking involves high pressure injections of liquid into underground rocks and layers to open fissures and extract oil or gas.
The United Nations says each year, 19-23 million tons of plastic waste leaks into waterways, polluting rivers, seas, and lakes.
On Friday, Kennedy turned to X, formerly known as Twitter, to lay out his 10-point plan to fix the plastics pollution crisis.
The first thing he said he would do is support an ambitious international plastics treaty, then act to restrict hazardous plastics and chemicals.
Kennedy also said he would promote a national bottle bill, coordinate an Extended Producer Responsibility system for packaging, and move to modernize recycling facilities.
The Democratic presidential candidate said he would strengthen closed-loop recycling systems, limit construction and expansion of plastic production facilities, end subsidies for plastics producers and order a major national study to evaluate all sources of plastic wasted.
But tucked into the mix of ideas Kennedy suggested was one that gained a lot of criticism on social media.
“I will ban fracking, which provides the feedstock for most of the plastics produced in the U.S.,” Kennedy said.
While plastic material mostly comes from crude oil and natural gas, Republicans have said fracking bans are a threat to America’s energy independence.
The move would also drive the price of oil above $150 per barrel, while killing state budgets for energy producing states.
Kennedy’s post announcing that he would ban fracking sparked harsh criticism.
For instance, some people said a ban on fracking was a “dealbreaker,” or a lost vote.
X user Alex Epstein posted that he told everyone RFK is “anti-freedom,” adding, “Banning fracking would immediately plunge the US into a depression. And [Robert Kennedy Jr.] would do it to “solve” an amorphous “plastics crisis.”
Another user, Anas Alhajji, posted that the presidential candidate’s proposal would put oil at about $200 per barrel, gas would cost $9 per gallon, and weaken the U.S. dollar, among other things.
The American Petroleum Institute, citing the US Department of Energy, says up to 95% of new wells drilled in the US employ fracking, accounting “for two-thirds of total US marketed natural gas production and about half of US crude oil production.”
Several blue states have banned fracking, including Vermont, Washington and Maryland, though Vermont has no fossil energy reserves.
In 2021, the New York State legislature approved a bill to codify a ban on fracking.
New York is a net importer of natural gas, most of which comes via pipeline from Pennsylvania, even though the Marcellus Shale, the nation’s most prolific natural gas formation, runs through the western part of the state, according to the Energy Information Administration. In 2021, natural gas generated more than 45% of the New York’s electricity, making it the largest source of statewide power by far.