Tom Corbett, Tom Wolf Talk Environment in First Joint Appearance

Did either man get the upper hand?

Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, appeared together Wednesday night for the first time — at a Philadelphia dinner for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. As could be expected from such an event, the two men talked about balancing environmental issues with economic development. Here’s what the press is saying about the first head-to-head meeting of the gubernatorial campaign:

StateImpact:

Corbett praised his administration for how it has handled the Marcellus Shale boom by striking the right balance between economic development and environmental conservation.

“We need to be able to provide jobs, we need manufacturing, but we also need to be able to rely on the environment,” he said. “We need to be able to rely on our regulators.”

Wolf also made the case for a “responsible” severance tax on natural gas production, which Corbett continues to stand against, even as some members of the Republican Party are warming to the idea in order to plug a more than $1 billion hole in Pennsylvania’s budget.

AP:

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett praised the group for its efforts to balance the conservation of natural resources with economic development. “It’s not all one or all the other,” Corbett said.

Many members of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council board are from the business world, and its chairman was one of four environmental advocates on Corbett’s 30-member Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.

The commission was criticized for its heavy complement of business and gas industry advocates, but Corbett said Wednesday that the group helped develop “the most progressive set of environmental rules in the nation.”

Inquirer:

Wolf said, We all have the same goal, and that goal is the better environment we’ve all been talking about, a stronger, more prosperous Pennsylvania for our children and our grandchildren.”

Wolf spoke of how “too often, environmental discussions are zero-sum affairs that end up in stale battles and inconclusive results. … Neither economic growth nor wise stewardship ever comes out of those discussions.”

 And with that, the campaign is under way.

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