In Tuesday’s primaries in five northeastern states, Donald Trump – who has voiced support for fracking as far back as 2012, prior to his presidential bid – swept the Republican field. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – in favor of fracking under some circumstances – won in four states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
With the front-runners of both parties in support of fracking, even with some conditions, it would seem that anti-fracking activists are fighting an uphill battle.
But on the Democratic side, attention to climate change and fracking during northeast primaries has been prominent, with Senator Bernie Sanders having garnered strong support from anti-fracking activists for his call for a national ban on the technology. And as the primary season has unfolded, Clinton has taken a stronger stance on climate issues, such as banning fossil fuel development on public lands, when pressed by climate activists.
A close look at the political strategies of climate activists reveals a shift in focus to the localized impacts of fossil fuel extraction and a global push to keep fossil fuels in the ground. These changes come at a time of changing views on climate change, energy policy and politics in the U.S. population overall.