Former PA Gov. Tom Ridge and Marcellus Shale Coalition Part Ways

Tom RidgeThe leading and most visible organization representing the Marcellus drilling industry in Pennsylvania is the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). Backed by a who’s who of companies in the energy industry (including Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Shell, ExxonMobil, Hess, Chief O&G and many more), the MSC attempts to counter the ever-present misinformation about drilling in general, and hydraulic fracturing in particular. The MSC’s stated goal is to promote responsible development of the Marcellus Shale and generate jobs while doing it.

Kathryn Klaber is the very visible and dynamic president and executive director. Ms. Klaber is the public face of the MSC. But there’s also been a second visible face of the MSC for the past year. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (and his two consulting firms) was named as a “strategic advisor” to the MSC in July 2010. The contract was for one year. The MSC has just announced the contract with Ridge will not be renewed. Does that mean there’s a problem? Trouble in gasland? MDN does not know. From all appearances it was a contract for a specified period, the contract was fulfilled, objectives achieved, and life moves on. That’s the nature of consulting work.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and the Marcellus Shale Coalition have parted ways as their one-year $900,000 contract came to an end a few days ago.

On Friday, the Coalition announced this with a news release titled: “Update on the MSC-Gov. Ridge Partnership.”

Coalition spokesman Travis Windle on Monday noted that it was widely covered that the contract was for a period of one year. Windle declined to comment on whether a discussion about future contract work took place.

Ridge is scheduled to speak at the Coalition’s Shale Gas Insight conference in Philadelphia next month, which is part of his contract obligation, Windle said.(1)

Here is the press release issued by the Marcellus Shale Coalition:

At its one-year mark, Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) president and executive director Kathryn Z. Klaber provided the following update regarding the organization’s truly unique and momentous partnership with former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge and his team of subject matter experts and professionals:

“Gov. Ridge has provided valuable insight and leadership over the last year for our young organization. We are grateful for the strategic counsel and positive contributions that he and his team have offered to the MSC and our membership.

“An effective advocate for the responsible development of American natural gas, Gov. Ridge has helped bring national attention to the Marcellus Shale – the world’s second largest natural gas field.

“The governor, who played a leading role in developing our industry’s Guiding Principles, is always quick to remind us that ‘We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.’ He’s absolutely right, and his thoughtful counsel – working with our more than 200 member companies – has helped ensure that our industry appreciates and embraces the deep, rich history of Penn’s Woods.

“Responsibly developing clean-burning American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale represents a historic opportunity to help put the Commonwealth and our nation on a path toward a cleaner, prosperous and more secure energy future. Gov. Ridge understands this, and has been instrumental in conveying this potential to the public. On behalf of our entire organization, we thank Gov. Ridge for his dogged commitment to the Commonwealth, our environment, our economy and our homeland.”(2)

(1) Pittsburgh Business Times (Aug 2, 2011) – Tom Ridge, Marcellus Shale Coalition split

(2) Marcellus Shale Coalition Press Release (Jul 29, 2011) – Update on the MSC-Gov. Ridge Partnership