The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the lobbying arm of the natural gas drilling companies in Pennsylvania, announced yesterday that former PA governor and national homelands security director Tom Ridge will become a "strategic adviser" working for their interests.
What will Ridge be doing?
The official line from coalition president Kathryn Klaber:
"[He will] stress our industry's commitment to environmental and work-force safety and the positive and overwhelming economic benefits that responsible shale gas development continues to generate across the region."
He'll use his political clout to:
- Convince state legislators not to impose a tax on natural gas
- Keep the DEP from imposing overly burdensome/costly regulations on gas drilling
Ridge's name and stature also may help to reassure Joe and Jane Voter that the industry's controversial drilling method called hydrofracturing (fracking) won't destroy aquifers or kill fish in streams.