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Joe Biden on Monday rebutted President Trump's claim that the Democratic nominee would seek to ban fracking, the oil-and-gas extraction method that has enabled a surge in U.S. production over the last decade.

Why it matters: The remarks came during a speech in Pennsylvania, a critical swing state Trump carried in 2016 where fracking-enabled natural gas development is a major industry. Nearby Ohio, which Trump also won, is also a big gas-producing state.

  • "I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again. I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me," Biden said.

Flashback: Some of the confusion around Biden's policy stems from a March debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders when Biden said, "No new fracking."

  • Biden's energy and climate platform aims to thwart new oil-and-gas development on federal lands and waters, but it does not call for a national ban on fracking that would affect private lands, where the nation's oil-and-gas boom has been centered.
  • His campaign later clarified that Biden was restating his existing platform — not endorsing Sanders' call for a nationwide ban.
  • Such a ban would require congressional action, which is extraordinarily unlikely.

Where it stands: During his speech, Biden promoted his backing for renewable energy while he emphasized that he doesn't favor a fracking ban.

  • "We won’t just build things back the way they were before, we’re going to build them back better with good-paying jobs, building our nation’s roads, bridges, solar arrays, windmills."
  • He called for a "clean energy strategy that has a place for the energy workers right here in western Pennsylvania."

Yes, but: While he does not support a ban on fracking, Biden's overall platform calls for an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels via several policies, including a target of 100% carbon-free power by 2035.

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Pennsylvania certifies Biden's victory

Photo: Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pennsylvania officials on Tuesday certified the state's presidential election results, making President-elect Joe Biden's win in the key battleground official.

Why it matters: The move deals another blow to President Trump's failed efforts to block certification in key swing states that he lost to Biden. It also comes one day after officials voted to certify Biden's victory in Michigan.

Dave Lawler, author of World
7 mins ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.