PA Gov. Responds to PennFuture Criticism of Marcellus Bills

On Tuesday, the anti-drilling Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) released a report detailing the problems (from their perspective) with PA Senate Bill 1100 and PA House Bill 1950 which are nearing passage (a copy of the PennFuture report is embedded below). PennFuture’s CEO and president, Jan Jarrett, called on the legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett to throw out the existing bills and instead introduce new, stand alone bills to consider drilling issues separately.

“The current approach – jamming regulatory changes, a drilling fee, local government control issues, and restructuring the Oil and Gas Lease Fund  into the same legislation – forces legislators to accept the lowest common denominator, pleasing no one but the drilling industry,” said Jan Jarrett, president and CEO of PennFuture. “Even worse, the bills under consideration fail to consider the problem of air pollution from drilling and pipeline operations, leave our State Parks with no protection, and adopt a ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ approach, looking at only the immediate revenue with no thought of using any of the money for future needs. The bills also fail to meet the standards demanded by the Pennsylvania Constitution, which unequivocally states that the Commonwealth has the duty to ensure that its citizens have access to ‘clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.’(1)

Gov. Corbett’s office has fired back a response to Jarrett:

A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett said Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future should have reached out to the governor’s administration, not the media, about Marcellus shale legislation.

"One would think if (PennFuture president) Jan Jarrett felt so strongly on these bills she would have actually reached out to us, rather than to the media," spokesman Eric Shirk said in response to the PennFuture "Unfinished Business" paper criticizing the General Assembly for its inaction.

"If she would have, she would know that many of her concerns are addressed in the bills both in the House and Senate," Shirk went on, referring to Senate Bill 1100 and House Bill 1950, both of which were addressed in PennFuture’s paper and remarks Tuesday.

"The fact is that Gov. Corbett is committed to working with the General Assembly to enact a fair Marcellus shale bill that ensures our natural resources are protected and provides for the safe and efficient development of this important resource," Shirk said. "We look forward to finalizing this important legislation in the near future."(2)

(1) Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (Jan 17, 2012) – PennFuture details legislature’s unfinished business on Marcellus Shale drilling (PDF)

(2) Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Jan 19, 2012) – Corbett: PennFuture should go to governor