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Democrat Senate candidate John Fetterman on Tuesday declared his unequivocal support for fracking — making a 180-degree pivot on the hot-button issue of tapping an abundant energy resource in Pennsylvania.

In his first and only debate with Republican Mehmet Oz, Mr. Fetterman said he has always backed fracking despite being asked about previous statements he has made to the contrary.

“I have always supported fracking and I always believe independence with energy is critical,” he said. 

Mr. Fetterman took a different stance on fracking in 2016.

“I’m not pro-fracking and have stated that if we did things right in this state, we wouldn’t have fracking,” he said. “The industry is a stain on our state and natural resources.”

When the moderate asked how he squares that stance with his past comments, Mr. Fetterman repeated his response.

“I have always believed that energy independence is critical,” he said.

Mr. Fetterman and Mr. Oz are locked up in a neck-and-neck race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Mr. Oz has made his support of fracking a major plank in his campaign platform.

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