The Latest: O’Rourke might halt new drilling on US lands

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Latest on Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke campaigning in northern Nevada (all times local, PDT):

5:00 p.m.

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke says he’s willing to consider a moratorium on new leases to drill for oil and gas on federal lands as a way to help combat climate change.

The Democratic presidential hopeful told reporters between campaign speeches in Reno and Carson City on Thursday the nation needs to rethink how it protects its public lands.

O’Rourke says that concern, combined with the need to reduce total greenhouse emissions, makes it especially important that U.S. taxpayers don’t allow oil and gas companies to contribute more to the problem.

He said that “perhaps creating a moratorium on any future leases — and reviewing all those that are in existence — is in order.”


12:45 p.m.

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke says he’s glad former Vice President Joe Biden has joined the race.

The former Texas congressman told reporters during a campaign stop in Reno on Thursday that Biden brings “some extraordinary experience in public service” to the competition for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. He said it’s good for Democrats and good for America.

O’Rourke says Biden is joining an “extraordinary field of candidates with amazing diversity and backgrounds,” experience and life stories.

He said after a speech to the University of Nevada Young Democrats at a coffee shop on the edge of the Reno campus that it’s not for him to decide whether Biden should be considered the front-runner in the race, or whether he’s too much of a centrist candidate.

O’Rourke says it’s up to voters to “make those sort of judgments” based on all the candidates’ records, positions on issues and vision for the future of the country.


6:15 a.m.

Beto O’Rourke is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to bring his campaign to northern Nevada.

The former Texas congressman plans a town hall meeting Thursday morning with the UNR Young Democrats at a coffee shop near the University of Nevada, Reno. He’s scheduled an afternoon town hall at a Carson City restaurant.

The former El Paso city councilman made his first trip to the early caucus state last month with stops in Las Vegas. He’s headed back there Friday for events with the UNLV Young Democrats in Las Vegas and at a brewery in neighboring Henderson.

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker have campaigned in northern Nevada in recent weeks. Nevada’s caucuses next February are third in the presidential selection process following New Hampshire and Iowa.

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