Monday, December 20, 2010

Corbett transition team tilts toward industry insiders?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette took a look at incoming Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's transition team and concluded yesterday that its membership tilts toward "insiders -- lobbyists, lawyers and industry types."

The Governor-elect's spokesman Kevin Harley insisted that the committees include "a cross-section of Pennsylvanians who are subject-matter experts and who were willing to serve on the committees."

Of the 377 members, 26 are minorities and 56 are women.

Corbett's Energy and Environmental Committee

The Post-Gazette says that "of the 29 members, just a handful represent environmental groups, while the rest come from the scrap industry, energy companies, a water and sewer utility, coal mining, gas drilling, the National Rifle Association and from lobbying and law firms that represent clients who often have business before state regulatory boards that the committee is meant to study."

"It's almost all lobbyists and industry executives," said Jan Jarrett, CEO of PennFuture, a prominent statewide environmental group with no representation on the transition team.

Ms. Jarrett noted that many of the committee members have business pending before the Department of Environmental Protection, the Public Utility Commission and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

"These are agencies that have to be independent watchdogs and these people picked to make recommendations about them either have business before them or will have business before them," she said. "The fact is it's hard to separate one's self-interest from the public interest, and there are very few public-interest advocates on the committee."

The committee, she said, will study how state agencies regulate the industries they work for.

"The industry standpoint is that Department of Environmental Protection regs are too burdensome, too expensive and too onerous. The very people making recommendations to the new governor are people who have an interest in lightening the touch of the regulatory arm," Ms. Jarrett said.

Read the full story here

Yesterday's action on NJ environmental and energy bills
Enviro-Events Calendar for NJ, PA, DE & NY

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