Everybody in Harrisburg is Basically Shilling for the Gas Industry

NPR’s StateImpact flagged a report yesterday called “Fracking and the Revolving Door in Pennsylvania,” and it’s pretty breathtaking. To summarize: Many of the powerful former officials who were deciding how the state dealt with the Marcellus Shale goldmine under our feet are now directly connected to the natural gas industry. (This is regular practice in D.C., but people are a little better at diversifying industries over there.) Which helps explain a bipartisan friendliness towards gas corporations that has not infrequently turned a blind eye towards public health concerns. Here are the big points:

  • “Pennsylvania’s previous three governors have strong ties to the natural gas industry.” And the current one’s biggest campaign donations came from there too.
  • “Every Secretary of Environmental Protection since the DEP was created has had ties to the natural gas industry.”Governor is one thing–but the people supposed to protect the environment from a highly volatile energy source that occasionally lights peoples’ water on fire?
  • “Twenty Department of Environmental Protection employees have held jobs in the energy industry either before or after their agency jobs.” Same.

The full 30-page report, put out by the Public Accountability Initiative, is here.