Julián Castro would not commit to a federal ban on fracking after being asked about the practice at a CNN town hall on Wednesday
Castro supported fracking, which produces natural gas and often leaks methane into the atmosphere, when he was mayor of San Antonio, saying on Wednesday he believed there were “opportunities to be had” in a transition away from fossil fuels.
According to data from the Environmental Defense Fund, methane is “84 times more potent (in warming the atmosphere) than carbon dioxide,” despite lingering for shorter periods of time.
“I support local communities and states that want to ban fracking,” the former Housing and Urban and Development secretary said. “I have not called for an immediate ban on fracking. What I am doing is moving us away from fracking and natural gas, and investing in wind energy, solar energy, other renewables, to get us to net zero by 2045.”
Recalling the initial pitch around natural gas, Castro argued that the rationale was running down.
“We had been saying that natural gas was a bridge fuel,” he said. “We’re coming to the end of the bridge.”
Castro’s campaign has already pledged to end the leasing of public lands for energy extraction and exploration.