While democratic gubernatorial front-runner Allyson Schwartz has had a fairly centrist environmental voting record (despite her support for the Keystone XL Pipeline), the representative has stuck to all the safe talking points when it comes natural gas drilling in the Commonwealth. The hopeful candidate believes that fracking can be done with a safe, responsible approach. On her website, she has the Marcellus Shale listed as a priority and states:
Marcellus Shale has the potential for billions of dollars in economic development and tens of thousands of jobs. Additionally, the burning of natural gas produces fewer carbon emissions than that of oil or coal, which pollute our air and significantly contribute to global climate change.
These are tremendous benefits, but we must strike a balance to ensure extraction of these resources does not contaminate land and water resources for future generations. Fracking was exempted from the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) when President Bush signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This exemption was one of the reasons why I voted against this proposal when it came before the House of Representatives. I opposed the exemption because communities have a right to know what type of chemicals and materials are being injected into their land.
Representative Schwartz believes in transparency in the industry, and states that she is a co-sponsor of the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, which would “allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate hydraulic fracturing and require disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracturing process.” And lastly, the Montgomery and Philadelphia counties representative acknowledges that the emissions in the whole process can be as environmentally harmful as other fossil fuels.
Connecting Representative Schwartz’s campaign donors to her legislative actions during her career, progressives and environmentalists in the state should be highly concerned about her actions regarding how she would handle the Marcellus Shale debate. She’s no stranger of playing the centrist Democrat to gain political contributions and a couple examples include her connections to Big Pharma and her opposition to single payer healthcare and her connections to Wall Street and her votes on protecting credit card companies. Her connections to lobbying firms that have a vested interest in the Marcellus Shale and other natural gas plays include: Pepper Hamilton LLP, Ballard Spahr LLP, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney LLP, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Blank Rome LLP. The amount of money Representative Schwartz has received over her DC career totals to $340,272.
First up, Pepper Hamilton LLP, who has donated $56,925 to Representative Schwartz:
“The natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale are one of the world’s largest energy finds in the last 50 years and, according to some experts, America’s shale gas reserves could fuel our nation for nearly 100 years. Pepper Hamilton LLP’s Marcellus Shale Team represents businesses, investors and landowners involved in a wide spectrum of activities relating to the exploration and drilling operations in the Marcellus Shale.”
“Gas leases may look like immutable forms, but many of the provisions of gas leases are negotiable. Our experience has yielded insights on opportunities to improve the economics of the deal and to increase protections for the parties. Pepper’s Marcellus Shale Team has negotiated many lease agreements and has developed model leases for landowners.”
Second up, Ballard Sphar LLP who has donated $58,994 to Representative Schwartz:
“Our attorneys represent large retail and industrial end-use customers in purchases of gas and electricity and structure creditworthy contracts for municipalities and co-operatives. In an effort to increase efficiency and reduce cost, many companies have opted to meet their own power and natural gas needs. Our attorneys help them shop for providers, reduce consumption, engage an asset manager, engage a marketer, or develop capacity in-house”
“We assist with natural gas purchasing and contracting, including providing support for NAESB contracting. We also provide advice in structuring asset management agreements and in obtaining primary natural gas pipeline capacity. We analyze pipeline tariffs and open-season announcements, advise on strategies to reduce the delivered price of natural gas, and negotiate precedent agreements for new natural gas storage and pipeline transportation opportunities that take advantage of new competitive options.”
“A broad cross-section of natural gas market participants expressed significant opposition to a proposal by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to require increased reporting of natural gas transactions. In comments filed on February 12, 2013, market participants responded to FERC’s notice of inquiry (NOI) requesting input on potential regulatory changes to its market transparency provisions” (A blog on opposing FERC regulations.)
Third up on the list is Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney LLP who doanted $60,803 to the Representative:
“Robert L. Burns, Jr. is a member of the firm’s Energy Section and focuses his practice on environmental law and its intersections with development, construction, commercial transactions, litigation, manufacturing, waste and natural resources issues, including coal, natural gas and other energy areas, including the environmental and developing regulatory framework affecting Marcellus Shale development and operations.Robert counsels clients regarding the acquisition and financing of natural resource properties including coal, oil and natural gas.”A natural gas company regarding an alleged release of produced water associated with Marcellus Shale development.
- Some companies this lobbyists has represented.
- A natural gas company regarding alleged regulatory violations associated with casing of Marcellus Shale wells.
“Morgan Lewis attorneys have handled some of the most sophisticated and cutting-edge oil and gas deals and have addressed the most challenging regulatory issues in the industry today. Our Oil and Gas Practice offers customized, interdisciplinary legal representation around the world in the areas of project development, acquisitions and divestitures, financings, litigation, arbitration and other dispute resolution, and regulatory proceedings.”
“Morgan Lewis regularly advises integrated oil companies, independent exploration and production companies, liquefied natural gas (LNG) developers, traders and importers, private equity funds, lenders, regulated gas utilities, refiners and retailers, marketers, natural gas storage developers, intrastate pipeline companies, gatherers, natural gas processors, distribution companies, and end users.”
And last but not least (drum roll please) is Blank and Rome – who has just hired former DEP secretary Michael Krancer as their energy lobbyist – who have donated just over $97,000 to Representative Allyson Schwartz.
“Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Michael L. Krancer is re-joining Blank Rome LLP as a partner in the firm’s Philadelphia office.”
“‘Secretary Krancer is one of the country’s most prominent and forward-thinking leaders in energy policy, development and regulation,’ said Alan J. Hoffman , Blank Rome co-chairman and managing partner. ‘Michael’s practical experience at the highest levels of strategic state and federal government policymaking and government relations will significantly enhance our capabilities, particularly regarding the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays and, accordingly, we expect he will be spending a lot of time in western Pennsylvania.'”
All of the data for this blog was gathered at OpenSecrets.Org.