Bernie Sanders’ Radical Environmental Proposal. By Rebecca Leber, New Republic, 1/27/16. “There’s one environmental issue where Sanders truly stands apart [from all the other candidates]: He wants to ban hydraulic fracturing outright… That’s an indication of just how radical Sanders’s stance really is, but it also raises an important question: Is a fracking ban remotely plausible? Fracking… is one of the few areas of consensus among establishment Democrats and Republicans. Sanders, meanwhile, wants to halt the practice nationwide, a stance he’s taken since at least 2014, when Vermont banned the approach…

“Is it even possible to ban fracking nationwide? In short, no—not without Congress. The House and Senate would have to approve a tax on greenhouse gas emissions or to amend the ‘Halliburton loophole.’ Passed in 2005 in the Energy Policy Act, the loophole exempted fracking fluids from the Safe Drinking Water Act, which otherwise would regulate how contaminants are injected underground. (In 2013, Sanders proposed a Climate Protection Act to repeal the loophole.)… However, the president has the power to set strict standards for leasing federal lands for fossil fuel development, and Sanders has proposed ending all federal leases to oil, gas, and coal companies… Under Sanders, EPA could also exercise its regulatory authority against fracking companies.”