Marcellus Shale Coalition Buys an Ally in its Philadelphia Focus
Through the powerful joined forces of marriage and money, the Marcellus Shale Coalition has renewed its vows with Pennsylvania’s state government, the Philadelphia Inquirer and State Impact reported yesterday. Alarmed by the rise in opinions opposed to shale gas drilling among Southeastern Pennsylvanians, the Marcellus Shale Coalition decided to expand its forces of persuasion there. And who could they trust more than a former Pennsylvania public official–who’s married to a State Senator?
Shari Williams, a former communications specialist at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, is the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s new outreach manager in the Philadelphia area. Scott Detrow of StateImpact reports,
The Marcellus Shale Coalition has been focusing a lot of attention on Philadelphia lately. It launched a new website aimed specifically at answering “the greater Philadelphia area’s” questions about natural gas drilling, and has been conducting focus groups in the city. Now, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting the group has hired a new person to manage outreach in the Philadelphia area.
According to the Inquirer, “The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the natural gas industry trade group, is expanding its presence in Southeastern Pennsylvania by hiring Shari Williams, a former communications specialist at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the wife of State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D., Philadelphia).
Williams, who worked with the PUC for 17 years, led consumer education events on energy and utility issues in Eastern Pennsylvania. She will take on a new role with the shale coalition as outreach manager in the Philadelphia area, where the industry is stepping up efforts to address public apprehension with fracking, which takes place mostly in western and northern part of the state.”
The hire comes about a month before the coalition’s annual “Shale Gas Insight” conference, which will be held in Philadelphia’s convention center.
Luckily for all parties, Shari Williams’ husband, State Senator Anthony H. Williams (D., Philadelphia) has already proven his loyalty to the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s goals.
Explains Iris Marie Bloom, founder of Protecting Our Waters, “Sen. Williams presented himself to us in meetings and interviews as pro-environment, but then voted in favor of Act 13. Act 13 was such an anti-environmental and anti-democratic piece of legislation that the Commonwealth Court struck the core of the law down. A PA physician is suing right now to overturn another repressive part of Act 13, the physicians’ gag order. It appears the Marcellus Shale industry is bearing down hard on Philadelphia, but the people here will not be fooled.”
With such blatant nepotism, it’s clear that the Marcellus Shale Coalition believes otherwise.