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Fetterman Spent Thousands On CO2-Emitting Jet Travel Despite Pledge To Boycott Fossil Fuel Donations, Records Show

  • John Fetterman, the Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee, pledged in 2021 that he would not take over $200 from oil, gas and coal industry executives or related lobbyists and political action committees.
  • But his campaign committee spent almost $7,000 on flights between July 2021 and April 2022, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show, even though the Environmental Protection Agency says greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes “contribute to the air pollution that causes climate change.”
  • “Pledging not to take contributions from the industry is really just empty virtue-signaling,” Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “He really ought to be put on the spot to explain how people can live without fossil fuels and why his policies won’t raise energy prices and impoverish people.”

Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman pledged he would not take over $200 from oil, gas and coal industry executives or lobbyists and political action committees. However, despite his pledge, his campaign has spent thousands flying around the country on CO2-spewing commercial airplanes.

Fetterman’s campaign committee spent almost $7,000 on flights between July 2021 and April 2022, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show, despite him drawing a major line in the sand against the fossil fuels industry in February 2021 — the month he announced his Senate bid.

Fetterman joined the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge,” noting he has never taken money from the fossil fuel industry and “never will.” The pledge has been signed by thousands of Democratic lawmakers nationwide, according to a fact sheet by Oil Change U.S., the nonprofit behind the pledge.

The anti-fossil fuel agreement pertains to companies focused on “the extraction, processing, distribution, and/or sale of oil, gas, and/or coal,” according to the fact sheet, which notes that applicable groups should be listed in a database that includes federal campaign contributions.

The fact that Fetterman signed the pledge while his campaign has evidently relied on the fossil fuel industry for travel reeks of hypocrisy, Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, told the DCNF.

“Over 75% of American energy comes from coal, oil, and natural gas, and on top of that thousands of products are derived from oil and gas, such as plastics, fertilizers, chemicals, and synthetic materials,” said Ebell. “Thus, it’s impossible for Mr. Fetterman or anyone to live without fossil fuels.”

Transportation accounted for 27% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in 2020, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Commercial planes and large jets account for 10% of transportation emissions nationwide, according to the agency.

Still, Fetterman’s campaign made 11 airfare payments that were an average of roughly $632 each, according to the FEC filings. His campaign notably spent more than $2,400 on April 1 with American Airlines.

Fetterman, who was endorsed by Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said on June 26, 2021 at a gay pride event in Warren County, Pennsylvania, that it is “critical” for the U.S. to “transition away from fossil fuels,” according to footage obtained by the DCNF. He said at the same event that climate change is “an absolute existential threat,” according to the footage.

Nearly two weeks after those remarks, on July 13, Fetterman’s campaign spent more than $475 with Delta Airlines.

It is unclear where Fetterman’s campaign was flying to and from. While Texas, Illinois, and Georgia are listed on filings, this relates to where American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines, respectively, are based.

“Pledging not to take contributions from the industry is really just empty virtue-signaling,” Ebell said. “He really ought to be put on the spot to explain how people can live without fossil fuels and why his policies won’t raise energy prices and impoverish people.”

Fetterman also said at a foreign policy forum in 2016 — when he first ran for Senate in Pennsylvania — that climate change is “the single most pressing issue we have to address,” according to footage obtained by the DCNF. “Terrorism” is another concern, he noted, “but, if we’re as worried about terrorism as we should be, that’s going to exacerbate when the climate goes crazy.”

Fetterman’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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Gabe Kaminsky

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Gabe Kaminsky

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