(NewsNation) — Despite recent comments in support of fracking, both John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz have made previous statements in opposition of the practice.
The Senate candidates addressed their contrasting views during their first and only debate ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
In a 2018 interview, Fetterman said, “I don’t support fracking at all. I never have.” But earlier this month, Fetterman told an interviewer, “I support fracking. I support the energy independence that we should have here in the United States.”
During Tuesday’s debate, the Democratic candidate was briefly stumped when asked to explain himself. After a pause, he said, “I always supported fracking. And I always believe that independence with our energy is critical.”
When pressed, Fetterman struggled to articulate his explanation a second time. “I do support fracking,” he said.
In a 2014 column, Oz called for no fracking, pending a health study. But in a video posted on social media in March, he said, “Natural gas guarantees high-paying skill jobs right here in Pennsylvania. So back off Biden, give us (the) freedom to frack.”
On Tuesday, Oz explained “I’ve been very consistent… fracking is a lifeline for this commonwealth to be able to build wealth similar to what they’ve been able to achieve in other states. For that reason, I strongly support fracking, drilling.”
With a 50-50 split in the Senate, the battle between Democratic Pennsylvania candidate John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz continues to be one of the most closely watched races in the country.
The outcome of the election could determine which party takes control of the Senate.