Pennsylvania State Rep. Jesse White, Democrat from Cecil, PA (near Pittsburgh), has created an image as a minor celebrity in PA’s shale story. MDN has chronicled, in a number of stories, White’s ongoing kerfuffles with both Range Resources and with the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (latest example: Tag Team Grudge Match: Jesse White/Patch v Range Resources/DEP). On several occasions when MDN has written about Mr. White, he’s contacted us to say he definitely is not “anti-drilling,” but instead only wants drillers, and government agencies, to follow the law. He presents himself as a “man of the people,” out to protect their interests. Fair enough–we’ve always reported his comments. We’re not out to personally attack Mr. White.
However, White’s carefully crafted “man of the people” image is now in doubt. An investigation by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA Channel 2 indicates White has been creating false online identities and using them to attack individual landowners–his own constituents–who support drilling. If true, it means that White is not only anti-drilling, but small-minded and vindictive as well. Here’s part of the KDKA story, from investigative reporter Andy Sheehan: