Loading...

Max Baker |Fort Worth Star-Telegram| 5 Aug. 2016

There’s a new candidate joining Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein on the presidential campaign trail. At least online.

The candidate has a 60-second, slick commercial on social media websites and Facebook and is planning a nationwide virtual bus tour.

Who is this candidate? Well, it’s Fracking. Yes, that’s right. Fracking for President.

The brainchild of the pro-drilling groups FrackFeed and North Texans for Natural Gas, don’t look for a stand-in character as the fictional independent candidate (although the materials distributed and the commercial refer to Fracking as a she.) This is strictly an educational campaign.

“Why not capitalize on the fact that there is a broader debate on energy production” occurring in the presidential race? said Courtney Loper, a spokeswoman for the groups. “Let people know about the benefits of fracking and oil and gas to everyone.”

While Clinton, Trump, etal, will be spending hundreds of millions in their campaigns, the Fracking for President effort will be in the low six figures. North Texas for Natural Gas is a pro industry group supported by energy companies like Devon Energy, EOG Resources and XTO.

Loper said Fracking for President by Wednesday had already received 35,000 hits on YouTube and another 500,000 on Facebook. The campaign theme is “Powering the People,” with an agenda of creating jobs, lowering consumer prices and strengthening energy security, among other things.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing for those who don’t know, is the process of injecting water and other chemicals deep into shale rock to unlock the natural gas trapped inside.

“People in the Northeast or Florida may not know that their power bills are lower because of the fracking revolution,” Loper said. “There are new, multi-billion dollar manufacturing investments in the United States thanks to low-cost shale gas, unlocked by fracking… This is a national story that deserves to be told.”

As far as influencing the real presidential candidates, Fracking for President may have its work cut out for it.

While campaigning in Colorado this week, Trump said in an interview with a local TV station that “fracking is something we need” but said that he also understands if a state or city wants to ban it.

Clinton has expressed support for fracking, but also said during a March debate that she would aggressively regulate the process and wouldn’t support it if states and cities don’t want it.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article93990022.html