Friday, April 1, 2011

Corbett's enviro critics erupt over PADEP shale memo

Who is Pennsylvania's new Republican Governor Tom Corbett more concerned about--state residents or the shale gas drilling industry?

Environmental activists have suspected the latter ever since the industry contributed more than a million dollars to Corbett's election campaign.

Today, they're more convinced than ever after learning that Corbett's new DEP Secretary, Michael Krancer, had issued a directive to his field troops ordering that no enforcement action be taken without his prior approval.
Michael Krancer

The enviros are crying "I told you so."  Krancer, however, says it's just a way of insuring a uniform approach,  and he predicts that enforcement will be even more robust than before under his new policy.

Krancer's background argues that he's a straight-shooter. A guy who thinks for himself and doesn't hesitate to challenge the party line (A profile of Pennsylvania's DEP chief, Michael Krancer)

Pennsylvania  Gov. Tom Corbett

But his boss's actions so far leave many skeptical.

Corbett deputized a shale gas advisory board but critics say he stacked it with pro-industry voices. And at the panel's first meeting last week, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who chairs the group, made it clear that he'd brook no talk of a drilling tax. That edict was imposed even as Corbett delivered to the legislature a state budget that proposes to cut higher education funding to the bone.

Natural gas is starting to generate as much political heat in Pennsylvania as it provides to boil the tea water on your stove.

One thing's for sure. Corbett's critics have moved from skeptical to hyper-vigilant. His Administration had better play their next gas card with more forethought and finesse.

WHTM (ABC 27) has a good piece on the Krancer memo and critical reaction.
View it below.

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