State Rep. Lawrence Curry
To: Editorial Department
From: State Rep. Lawrence Curry
Subject: Guest Editorial
Shale, shale the gang's all here!
After stuffing Corbett's coffers with cash, energy officials are poised to set our
Marcellus Shale policies
Energy companies donated handsomely to Gov. Tom Corbett's campaign, and now they're cashing in on their investment.
They are in a prime position to set Marcellus Shale drilling policies; they will police one another; and they won't have to pay for the natural gas that belongs to Pennsylvania.
"Corporate" Corbett remains steadfast in his refusal to tax out-of-state drilling companies for the Marcellus Shale natural gas that they taking, that will boost their profits.
He nominates contributors from the corporate interests to oversee the state agencies that will oversee drilling operations of those corporate interests.
A flagrant example: He appoints his contributors to his Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which is tasked with developing a comprehensive, strategic proposal for the responsible and environmentally sound development of the shale gas.
The industry sector of this commission gave nearly $865,000 to Corbett's campaign. Here are a few top contributors:
· Terrence Pegula, founder of East Resources. He and his wife contributed $380,000 to Corbett's campaign; another East Resources executive gave $31,000.
· Michael Krancer, acting secretary for the state Department of Environmental Protection and former assistant general counsel for Exelon whose wife gave $6,500 and his father gave $300,000.
· C. Alan Walker, acting secretary for the state Community and Economic Development Department, founder of Bradford Energy Co., former chairman of the board of the Pa. Coal Association and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry gave Corbett $106,607.
· Barry Schoch, acting secretary of the state Department of Transportation and former vice president of McCormick Taylor Engineering; he did not personally contribute, but his company gave $85,500.
· Ray Walker Jr., senior vice president of Marcellus Shale at Range Resources personally gave $26,800; other Range Resources executives donated $54,000.
One-third of the commission is made up of people who are active in the energy industry; two government officials are former energy industry employees; only five people are from the environmental community.
Corbett's campaign contributors, centered on out-of-state investors and corporate profits, will have the clout to drown out the voices of environmental members whose priority is you.
"Corporate" Corbett's assault on our environment doesn't end with this one-sided Marcellus Shale Commission.
To further ensure his campaign contributors get what they paid for, before DEP field inspectors and regional directors can write up Marcellus Shale drilling violations, they must first run them by DEP Secretary Krancer (whose dad gave $300,000 to Corbett's campaign) for permission. The new rules even cover previously issued violations.
The stakes are too high with the natural gas deposit in the Marcellus Shale to let the fox guard the hen house, but that is exactly what Corbett is doing. And he has turned a deaf ear to you and your concerns.
Poll after poll shows public support for a severance tax and strong regulation of drilling operations, but Corbett is interested in neither.
Energy officials may have paid for Corbett's campaign ads, but it’s the people of Pennsylvania who elected him. It's the people of Pennsylvania who, through their taxes, pay his salary. So it's the people of Pennsylvania who should have his ear on this important environmental and economic matter.
Instead of having his ear, all "Corporate" Corbett has shown the people of Pennsylvania is his backside, walking away from health care coverage for working people, from responsible public education funding to prevent property tax increases, from funding for hospitals, from students and families trying to afford a college education.
As he walks away from the people he has sworn to serve, his arms are around the shoulders of big businesses smoking rich stogies thanks to the tax cuts their buddy has already given them, with more on the way.
It doesn't matter if you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent or tea party; "Corporate" Corbett is going to make you pay for electing him.
But while his pockets may be stuffed with corporate contributions, the working people are not entirely powerless. You can stuff his email inbox and voicemail with your priorities for the natural resources that you own and for the services essential for your well-being. Contact him through is website at www.governor.state.pa.us.