A Democratic presidential-campaign proposal to ban fracking to extract fossil fuels has oil-and-gas companies worried and environmental groups hopeful.
Candidates including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have signaled their willingness to bar the practice—which involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into subterranean rock formations such as shale to release reserves of oil and gas. Other Democratic hopefuls have stopped short of supporting a ban but endorse policies that would curb U.S. oil production.
The U.S. shale-oil revolution has pushed the country to become the largest oil producer in the world. The oil industry now pumps about 12 million barrels a day overall, and shale-oil companies account for about 8 million barrels of that total—roughly 8% to 10% of the global supply of oil.
The Wall Street Journal hosted a conversation by email about these issues with Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, and Sam Ori, executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. An edited transcript follows.