Democratic Senate Candidates Spar Over Fracking

Apr 7, 2016


Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty speaks during a Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial primary debate May 8, 2016. McGinty is now running for U.S. Senate.
Credit Matt Slocum / AP

The Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate is heating up, and sparks are flying on a topic that’s always hot in Pennsylvania—fracking.

At a debate this week, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and former congressman and Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak both tried to brand their opponent, Katie McGinty, as a friend of fracking.

They targeted McGinty’s record as former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Ed Rendell. She left the department in 2008, just as the fracking boom was getting started.

“We have an expert on the stage this evening on fracking because Ms. McGinty, along with Gov. Rendell, brought fracking to Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said.

McGinty defended her record of promoting clean energy and tried to fend off attempts to tie her to fracking because she received campaign donations from individuals working in the industry.

“The bottom line is I’m supported by the solar industry, the wind industry,” McGinty said. “I’m not supported by the frackers.”

Both Fetterman and Sestak have said they would support a moratorium on fracking—at least until regulation gets tighter. McGinty supports tighter regulations but not a moratorium.

The Democratic primary is April 26. The Senate seat is currently held by Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey.

Find more of this report on the site of our partner, Allegheny Front