Rendell, who has indirect ties to the gas industry, told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that the party’s call to put the brakes on fracking puts it at odds with 2 of his past environmental protection secretaries – John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty – both Democrats now running for governor.
“It’s very ill-advised,” Rendell said. “The two biggest environmentalists in the state, who are both running for governor, both approved of fracking, permitted it and moved to put in place changes that have dramatically reformed the fracking process.”
Earlier this year, Rendell intervened with the EPA on behalf of Range Resources. Rendell says gas driller Range Resources never authorized him to speak on their behalf to the EPA about a Texas contamination case.
The top three aspiring Democratic Candidates looking to occupy the Pennsylvania Governor’s office are the former DEP secretary John Hanger, another former DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty, and US Representative Allyson Swartz (D-Montgomery County).
- Swartz considers the fracking moratorium to be “misguided”.
- Hanger offers “partial support” – in other words he has his butt cheeks firmly clenched around the fence.
- McGinty opposes the moratorium.
All three pretty much ignores the damages, hazards and impact the gas industry is having on Pennsylvania, and wave around the industry talking point of “Jobs jobs jobs”. All three are also spouting sound bite variations of “responsible drilling”.
All three have their “gas connections”, so let’s start with McGinty.
MCGINTY LEAVES HER “DAY JOB”
In April of 2013, McGinty stated “I’m definitely in. I’ve gone ahead and I’ve secured significant financial commitments to my campaign, the better part of $1 million, and I quit my day job.” How much in significant financial commitments and from who is unknown at this time, we’ll have to wait for the campaign to file its disclosures.
Let us look at her “day jobs”.
From 1989 to 1993, she was a legislative aide to the then Senator Al Gore. McGinty became head of White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) under former President Bill Clinton from 1993 through 1998.
In 2003, she left CEQ to become the Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (DEP) under the then Governor Ed Rendell.
McGinty argued that she approached environmental regulation from a pro-economic growth perspective. “My approach to environmental challenges, from my first days in working in the environmental area, has been to see in them economic opportunities in disguise — to see that an environmental problem is really some business’s invitation to invent a new technology, to enhance productivity, to improve efficiency, and to grow their bottom line,” she said in an interview with Grist in 2005.
She left her post as DEP secretary in July of 2008. By 2009 she became an operating partner with Element Partners. Former Governor Rendell became an operating partner at Element in 2011.
“ELEMENT”ARY GAS CONNECTIONS
In January 2011 Element Partners announced the formation of Agility Fuel Systems, Inc. (“Agility,” or “the Company”) through the merger of FAB Industries and Enviromech Industries, two leading providers of alternative fuel systems for commercial trucks, buses and specialty vehicles. Agility engineers, manufactures, installs, and services on-vehicle fueling systems, with a focus on compressed and liquid natural gas fuels.
Element Partners characterizes their investments in the gas industry as being “environmental friendly drilling”. In April 2012, Element Partners invested in a company called Environmental Drilling Solutions, Inc. (EDS). EDS states it is the leading provider of closed-loop drilling solids control services to North American oil & gas industry.
According to David Lincoln, one of Element’s managing partners “The solids that go through EDS’ systems can be used to build roads and the company is working with some asphalt and paving businesses to have them used that way. “
Just what we want – to be able to drive on fracking contaminated roads.
MCGINTY THEN AND NOW
Yes, the same Kathryn Klaber who is now the Executive Director for the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Klaber was reconfirmed by McGinty’s successor, John Hanger, and as of Feb 2013, Klaber is still listed as an AQTAC member.
McGinty is on the Board of Directors for Iberdrola Renewables, which is Spain’s largest power company and leads the Spanish industry in the construction of combined cycle gas plants. Iberdrola Renewables, LLC operates more than 621 MW of gas-fired generation and more than 129 BCF of owned and contracted U.S. natural gas storage.
Per the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) : The combination of renewable energy and natural gas holds great promise for a more diverse power supply, grid reliability and the potential to reduce the environmental impact of energy use. Natural gas addresses intermittency and variability and renewables address price volatility. Along with key partners in the renewable energy, natural gas and utility sectors, ACORE is convening a series of high-level meetings to explore the potential for renewable energy and natural gas interoperability. McGinty is an Advisory Board member of ACORE.
McGinty serves on the Board of Directors for NRG Energy. NRG Energy is a wholesale power generation company with ownership in 47 coal, oil and natural gas plants worldwide.
In 2010, McGinty joined Weston Solutions as Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Strategic Growth – Green Development Team.
Weston Solutions is promoting natural gas a “clean energy”:
“Clean energy offers a cost-effective way to meet our nation’s growing demand for electricity and natural gas while reducing emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, lowering consumers’ energy bills, and improving the reliability and security of our energy system.”
Weston Solutions is a subsidiary of Western Solutions Holdings. Weston Solutions has also retained K&L Gates as a lobbyist, although according to OpenSecrets.com no payments have been reported by Weston to K&L.
In 2012, Weston Solutions ran tests on split water samples for Chesapeake Energy. The tests were on 14 water wells and 1 spring in Bradford County. Weston stated in the executive summary that the testing found no contamination due to gas drilling. Surprised?
On the board of Weston Solutions Holdings, Inc is Thomas W. Hoog of Hill & Knowlton, Inc. Hill & Knowlton are probably best known for their public relations campaign on behalf of the tobacco industry which told America that tobacco had no verifiable links to cancer.
America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) spent $80million in 2012 for their public relations campaign which included the services of Hill & Knowlton. One of ANGA’s co-founders is Aubrey McClendon, the now former CEO of Chesapeake Energy.
US DOE NATURAL GAS SUBCOMMITTEE
McGinty in on the US Department of Energy (DOE) Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Safety of Shale Gas Development.
- MIT Joins Frackademia
- IHS Global Insights: A Game of Clones
- IHS – Hyping the Marcellus Shale
- Environmental Defense Fund – Environment In Name Only (EINO)?
NEW YORK FRACKING
Per Steve Horn of DeSmog Blog: The ICF/New York Fracking Decision Connection
ICF Consulting is a thread tying the forthcoming fracking decision in New York by Democratic Party Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the Obama State Department decision on the Keystone XL.
Though ICF doesn’t list its clients on its website, its vice president Karl Hausker is the husband of Kathleen (“Katie”) McGinty, one of the members of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel.
McGinty formerly served as Vice President Al Gore’s top climate aide under the Clinton Administration, segueing from that position into one as chair of the Clinton Council on Environmental Quality from 1993-1998. From 2003-2008, she served as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, helping usher in the state’s ongoing fracking boom.
Named as a member of the industry-stacked Obama DOE fracking subcommittee in May 2011, McGinty now works as an Operating Partner alongside Rendell at Element Partners, a Philadelphia, PA-based firm that has capital investments in several firms operating in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Marcellus Shale. McGinty also serves on the Board of Directors of NRG Energy, an electricity-generating utilities corporation that owns natural gas-fired power plants around the U.S.
Tying it all together, Ernest Moniz is leaving his position on ICF’s Board and his professorship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a major “frackademic,” to serve as head of the Obama DOE.
PENNSYLVANIA SHOULD BE THE BLUE-COLLAR SILICON VALLEY
In September 2012, McGinty penned an op-ed entitled “Energy: Clear benefits of Obama’s forward-looking agenda”. She hits all the Obama and Gas talking points about “secure” energy production, jobs, “clean domestic source”, jobs, 100 years of natural gas, and jobs.
Over half of the op-ed is dedicated to hyping the benefits of natural gas. Look for more of this in her campaign speeches and advertisements in addition to sound bites about “responsible and safe” drilling.
McGinty says Corbett had failed to take full advantage of the state’s life-sciences industry and massive shale oil reserves to create jobs. She said her experience in business and as an environmental regulator equipped her to bring disparate interests together.
She said the natural gas and world-class engineering programs at colleges and universities should be harnessed to revive manufacturing. “Pennsylvania should be the blue-collar Silicon Valley of the U.S.,” McGinty said.
Pennsylvania should be the blue-collar Silicon Valley? Wait a minute, aren’t we suppose to be New Texas and the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas?
Between the sound bites, ignoring the natural gas disaster happening in slow-motion – Pennsylvania won’t be a New Texas, it won’t be the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas, and it won’t be a blue-collar Silicon Valley. What it will be is a 45,310 square mile toxic waste dump, and Pennsylvanians will be paying for it with the tax dollars, their health and their lives.
With a Democratic candidate like this – who needs Republicans?
©2013 by Dory Hippauf