Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Troubling signs for PA shale gas drilling opponents?

NaturalgaswellMany environmentalists worry that Pennsylvania's new Republican Gov. Tom Corbett may be eager to help out his friends in the gas industry who pumped barrels of money into his election campaign. They won't be any less fretful today after reading a post in John Micek's Capitol Ideas.

The Morning Call's state house reporter notes that the Corbett Administration has dropped a Rendell-era policy mandating economic impact studies before natural gas drilling can take place on state parkland.
 Micek writes:
"The state Department of Environmental Protection published a four-sentence announcement in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, an official government publication, saying it will continue to solicit public input on drilling when it reviews permit applications, the AP reports this morning." 
Micek also reminds us that Gov. Corbett has yet to announce his choice to run the Department of Conservation Resources, a major player in shale drilling.

Finding that a bid odd, Micek said he questioned the governor's spokesman Kevin Harley about it yesterday. Here's how that went:
"Harley tersely answered that the administration was working on it. Asked when they might announce an appointee, he said, "we anticipate naming someone in the near future.

 "Asked to narrow that a bit, Harley responded again (this time sounding as if he might prefer a root canal to our line of questioning), "In the near future."

Ouch. Looks like the enviros might be in for some tough times in Harrisburg.

If so, they certainly didn't help themselves by turning up at Corbett's inaugural and shouting slogans in an attempt to disrupt the ceremony.

After a long and bruising campaign, any successful candidate should be able to celebrate the finest day of his or her political life with family and well wishers--and a nice dose of pomp and circumstances, too. Organizing catcalls from the peanut gallery is no way to ingratiate yourself with the guy who'll be calling the shots for the next four years.

Pa. gov scales back drilling policy on public land
Pa. loosens rule on gas drilling
Gas drilling in state parks draws fire 

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