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Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Selects Marcellus Shale Panel Giving Energy Executive Supreme Authority Over Environmental Permitting / MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Calls Him Out

March 11, 2011

The governor announced the formation of a 30-member Marcellus Shale Commission” during his recent state budget address.

PA Governor Tom Corbett held his state budget address March 8

“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.”

Alan Walker now leads the PA Department of Community and Economic Development under Governor Tom Corbett

Walker would not comment publicly on his “unprecedented authority to expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted.”

“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.

  1. March 13, 2011 9:44 pm

    Alan Walker “running up the state’s environmental regulations. This to me, sounds like an ecological, environmental disaster in the making. Wonder what thinks of Tom Corbett’s choice for PA Det. of community and economic development?
    On the same wavelength here with lawyer Debby Goldberg , Earth Justice. Where’s the justice.
    Meanwhile not taxing the Marcellus shale oil reserves freezes up a significant sum of money that could go to social programs for children, senior citizens, disabled , mentally ill etc.

    • Tauber permalink
      April 8, 2011 12:28 pm

      This is a LOSE/LOSE situation for the citizens of Pennsylvania. They will freeze education funding before they would ever think to tax the oil and energy companies that are taking resources away from the people THEN selling it back to them (with record profits mind you), not to mention the other ‘byproducts’ they most certainly will be leaving behind. Who’s benefiting from this? It sure isn’t the Pennsylvanians.

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