The state Senate president, a key player in the debate over natural-gas drilling in Pennsylvania, accepted a free trip from one of the state’s largest energy companies to see the Pittsburgh Steelers play in the Super Bowl.
Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, had his ticket, plane ride, and hotel bill paid for by Consol Energy Inc., a major coal producer and one of the companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, according to Mr. Scarnati’s top aide.*
Was it legal? According to the rules and laws in PA, it was perfectly legal. But it was also stupid. Drilling in PA is hot and will remain so, and an extraction tax will come around again eventually. It’s important for those who support drilling to be open and transparent, without even a hint of undue influence. Things like this give the opposition ammunition.
Mr. Scarnati, time to suck it up and reimburse CONSOL for the entire trip if you want to keep your reputation intact.
*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Feb 14) – Pa. senator’s Super Bowl trip courtesy of Consol