When voters in Pennsylvania cast their ballots this year, they might be thinking of a statement Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made during the final presidential debate.
In one of the most memorable moments of the night, the former vice president admitted he would jeopardize domestic jobs by restricting the oil industry in America, as Fox News reported.
Biden promises to end oil industry
Toward the end of the debate on Thursday, Biden became upset over Trump’s insistence that he would ban hydraulic fracturing, prompting the two candidates to butt heads on the issue of fossil fuels.
Biden has long equivocated on the topic, sensitive to voter backlash in states where the oil and natural gas industries are significant job creators. In the latest exchange, he claimed not only that he does not support a ban now, but that he never did.
Trump pointed out, however, that his denial rings hollow in the context of previous statements.
“He was against fracking,” the president said, according to Fox. “He said it…until he got the nomination, went to Pennsylvania, then he said — but you know what Pennsylvania, he’ll be against it very soon because his party is totally against it.”
“Will you remember that, Texas?”
Later, Biden admitted that he would begin phasing out American reliance on oil in general as part of a climate plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Biden’s comments left some anticipating a negative blow on his campaign — especially in crucial swing states like Pennsylvania.
“I would transition away from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said. “It is a big statement … because the oil industry pollutes significantly … it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time … I’d stop giving to the oil industry, I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.”
Trump fired back, “Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?”
“We would work it out”
After the debate, Biden apparently thought better of his answer, apparently aware that he had made a campaign misstep. He clarified that his plan would not lead to an end to fossil fuels “for a long time” and would likely not be complete for another three decades.
Biden running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was left doing damage control as well, insisting that Biden wouldn’t ban fracking, although Trump shared a video demonstrating Biden’s support for the idea.
In remarks late last year, Biden said: “No, we would — we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either — any fossil fuel.”