Summer Lee Triumphs as an Anti-Fracking Climate Champion

Progressive victory demonstrates that taking on fossil fuels can be a winner in Pennsylvania

Progressive state legislator and community organizer Summer Lee won the hotly contested Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. The race made national news, as her opponent — backed by local party leaders who are beholden to the fracking industry — was buoyed by millions of dollars in outside spending. 

Lee was a leader in the fight against a fracking well in her community, and has remained a steadfast opponent of dirty fossil fuel drilling that has harmed communities across the state.  Her victory has historical significance; if Lee wins the general election, she would become one of the few anti-fracking federal lawmakers who represent districts with active fracking wells.

In response, Food & Water Action Political Director Sam Bernhardt issued the following statement: 

“Summer Lee’s victory is a testament to the movement she has helped to build in her community, and to the voters and organizers who were willing to buck the party establishment. We are told over and over again that Democrats in Pennsylvania must embrace fracking and fossil fuels if they want to win. This is nonsense. Confronting the greedy, destructive corporate interests that have polluted and sickened communities is a matter of economic and environmental justice.

“We were proud to stand with Summer when she first ran for state representative in 2018, and again in 2020. In those campaigns, and in her time as a state legislator, Summer stood with us and her community to fight a fracking well at the Edgar Thomson Mill. We were told that this was an unwinnable fight against an industry that gets what it wants in Pennsylvania. But we showed them that when a community fights to protect itself, it can beat the most powerful opponents. 

“We have seen out of touch establishment Democrats try to unseat Summer Lee and other advocates for strong climate action. The fact that they keep losing should send a clear message: Voters want elected leaders who will provide working people a Green New Deal.”