A PENNSYLVANIA FRACKING SITEWe're burning the furniture to heat the house.~ JOHN H. QUIGLEYNo matter what you think about the merits of drilling into shale deposits to pump out natural gas, and some environmentalists are actually enamored of the concept because natural gas is cleaner than coal, it is a disaster waiting to happen. No, make that already happening.
But if you're newly-minted Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, allowing drilling companies to frack wherever they want in the Keystone State with few constraints or even taxes (like levying a few for extraction) is a payback inasmuch as these companies helped bankroll his gubernatorial campaign to the tune of $875,720.
Michael Krancer, Corbett's new secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has an utterly inappropriate business-first policy, something that John Quigley, his predecessor under Governor Ed Rendell, most definitely did not.
"A moribund economy is the enemy of environmental protection," Krancer says without irony.
Quigley, meanwhile, notes than in shifting away from coal toward natural gas, "we're trying for cleaner air, but we're producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it's not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste."
It is clear that no one has a plan, which makes Corbett's intention to make good on a campaign promise to rescind Rendell's ban on fracking in state parks, as well as requiring impact analyses prior to drilling in state forests, all the more outrageous.
I do, however, have a plan:
Recalling to mind the boast of a power company flack that he was so confident that the waters around Three Mile Island were safe after the partial reactor core meltdown in 1979 were safe that he'd drink it, Corbett should show his faith by drinking the water from each of the communities whose groundwater supplies are likely to be contaminated from fracking.