E&E Reporter, Mike Soraghan, shook the Pennsylvania fractivist community this morning with news of former Governor Ed Rendell (PA-D) lobbying the EPA on behalf of Range Resources regarding a high-profile Texas water contamination case.
Former Pa. Gov. Rendell pressed EPA in Range pollution case, emails show | Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter | EnergyWire: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell interceded with then-U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on behalf of Range Resources Corp. to settle the oil and gas company’s high-profile Texas water contamination case, emails obtained by EnergyWire show.
An EPA attorney wrote that Rendell, acting as a “spokesman for Range,” met with Jackson in 2011 and “proposed certain terms to the administrator.” But the case didn’t settle for more than a year after that.”
Read the article for the sorid details.
While Governor of Pennsylvania, Rendell had issued an executive order placing 1.5 million acres of state forest land off-limits to natural gas drilling. As Governor, Rendell, pressed for a severance tax on natural gas. “”The natural gas industry is up and running strong in Pennsylvania and has many of the world’s largest energy companies backing it,” Governor Rendell said, citing multibillion dollar deals by Exxon Mobil and Dutch Royal Shell, among others, to access Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves. “These gas companies are paying top dollar because they know they can earn record profits. Exxon Mobil reported a record $45.2 billion profit in 2008, and the company’s most recent financial statement does not report any taxes paid to the IRS.”
In May 2010, Common Cause issued a report: Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets. The Campaign Contributions & Lobbying Expenditures of the Natural Gas Industry in Pennsylvania, by Alex Kaplan and James Browning.
A Bonanza of Lobbying & Campaign Contributions: Gov. Ed Rendell was number six on the list of top recipients with $84,100. Rendell has been a leading proponent of a severance tax, but has also called himself the industry’s “best ally.”
Rendell wasn’t the only one in his administration spinning through the revolving door from government and into the arms of the natural gas industry.
Per Sourcewatch: (emphasis added) Three of Rendell’s former high-level staffers have abruptly left their jobs gas industry lobbying positions. The three are Kenneth Scott Roy, Barbara Sexton, and Sarah Battisti. Roy was Rendell’s former executive deputy chief of staff and left to work for Range Resources Corp. He formerly served as chief liaison between the governor’s office and the gas industry and environmental groups, making the transition to Range Resources a perfectly logical one. Sexton, former executive deputy secretary of environmental protection of Pennsylvania left to work in governmental affairs for Chesapeake Energy Corp., an Oklahoma company that is one of the nation’s largest gas exploration firms. Battisti, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Rendell, who, on her LinkedIn page says she focused on “Energy, Conservation and Natural Resources, Community and Economic Development,” now works for the BG Group, an integrated oil and gas company which has its headquarters in Reading, Berkshire, England. “BG Group’s main business is exploration for and the extraction of natural gas, liquefied natural gas and to a lesser extent oil. It sells these products to wholesale customers such as retail gas suppliers and electricity generating companies. It also owns some gas pipelines and is involved in some power generation projects. It is active around the world, with only a minority of its business being in the UK. BG Group is a multinational company with operations in 27 countries.” (See also: Rendell advisers getting jobs with shale gas firms )
DEP losing staff to gas drilling industry | By Laura Legere (Staff Writer) |January 24, 2011
Excerpt: On Wednesday, L.R. Kimball, an architecture and engineering firm, announced it hired J. Scott Roberts as an adviser to help the company expand its operations in the Marcellus Shale. Roberts, a 25-year DEP employee, retired as deputy secretary for mineral resources management in December. He was one of the department’s most knowledgeable leaders on Marcellus Shale issues and often testified along with, or in place of, Hanger at public hearings concerning the industry.
Prior to Roberts’ hiring, the highest profile departure from the department to the industry was Barbara Sexton, then the department’s second-highest ranking official, who left to become director of governmental affairs in the state for Chesapeake Energy last year.
Excerpt: Richard Adams, a 30-year veteran of the department who played an influential role when DEP began developing rules for treating the salty wastewater that comes from the deep shale wells, is now senior environmental adviser for Chief Oil and Gas.
Joe Umholtz, the former surface activities division chief in the department’s bureau of oil and gas, joined Colorado-based MWH in the environmental engineering firm’s oil and gas sector last year.
Gary Byron, who worked for the department for 33 years before retiring as assistant regional director in the Williamsport office in 2008, founded Dux Head Environmental Services, which specializes in environmental consulting for the natural gas industry. He is a frequent contractor with Carrizo Oil and Gas.
And Helen Humphreys, a seven-year spokeswoman for the department’s Pittsburgh office who served as the agency’s communications director for five months last year, has been senior corporate communications specialist at Williams, a natural gas production and transportation company, since November.
At a time when DEP is building its staff of oil and gas regulators, the industry has also attracted employees from among those ranks, although a complete list has never been compiled.
Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy and Atlas Energy have together hired at least four former well-site inspectors to work in environmental compliance and other aspects of their Marcellus Shale operations.
Note: Atlas was purchased by Chevron in late 2010. Chevron will gain Atlas Energy’s estimated nine trillion cubic feet of natural gas resource, which includes approximately 850 billion cubic feet of proved natural gas reserves with approximately 80 million cubic feet of daily natural gas production. The assets in the Appalachian basin consist of 486,000 net acres of Marcellus Shale; 623,000 net acres of Utica Shale; and a 49 percent interest in Laurel Mountain Midstream, LLC, a joint venture which owns over 1,000 miles of intrastate and natural gas gathering lines servicing the Marcellus. Assets in Michigan include Antrim producing assets and 100,000 net acres of Collingwood/Utica Shale.