Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Selects Marcellus Shale Panel Giving Energy Executive Supreme Authority Over Environmental Permitting / MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Calls Him Out
“The governor announced the formation of a 30-member Marcellus Shale Commission” during his recent state budget address.
“Independent observers of the Marcellus shale industry in Pennsylvania said Tuesday that they will closely watch whether Gov. Tom Corbett’s new advisory group accurately represents the various interests affected by proposed increases in natural-gas drilling.”
“Corbett has asked the commission — made up of representatives from state and local government, the drilling and energy industries, and environmental organizations — to submit a final report with recommendations on development and regulation of the industry on or before July 22.”
One of the appointed commission is Alan Walker, “a Pennsylvania energy executive with his own track record of running up against the state’s environmental regulations.”
Walker has deep ties to the energy industry. He owns “Bradford Energy Company and Bradford Coal, which was once among Pennsylvania’s largest coal mining companies. He also owns or has an interest in 12 other companies, including a trucking business and a central Pennsylvania oil and gas company.”
“I have never seen anybody give an economic development director the authority to tell every other agency in the state what to do with regard to its statutory responsibilities,” said Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental group active on drilling issues. “The law requires that you not pollute the waters of Pennsylvania, and if he tries to speed up an application that makes it possible that that is going to happen then I think he is clearly operating outside of his authority.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow profiled this story on her program Thursday night, calling out the Governor and speaking with ProPublica reporter Abraham Lustgarten who broke the story.