#PAGov: Tom Wolf’s Fracking Problems

I wrote a long-form article for The PHL Blog.  It’s about Tom Wolf, Katie McGinty and Natural Gas Drilling.  Go read it here…

In response to Jim Burn’s unwillingness to step down to Katie McGinty’s challenge for the chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, Tom Wolf established the “Campaign for a Fresh Start PAC,” and named Katie McGinty as the leader of the newly minted political action committee.  The previous week, an environmental group, Food & Water Watch, reported that Tom Wolf’s gubernatorial campaign received at least $273,000, the majority of which came after Tom Wolf began to run away with the gubernatorial primary, from those associated with the natural gas industry and the Marcellus Shale Coalition.  These two events, appointing Katie McGinty as the head of his newly established political action committee and the revelations of how much in campaign contributions that Tom Wolf has received from the fossil fuels industry, should have progressives and environmentalists, who were a part of Tom Wolf’s winning coalition, concerned about the direction of the campaign.

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About Sean Kitchen 681 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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9 Comments on #PAGov: Tom Wolf’s Fracking Problems

  1. First, let me state that I am NOT a supporter of Tom Corbett, who we’ll call Toxic Tom, who has earned the title of America’s Most Embattled Incumbent Governor, and who is arguably also America’s Worst Governor. That being said, although I believe that Tom Wolf, who we’ll call Taxing Tom, will likely beat Corbett in November, I also believe he’ll be no better, especially when it comes to fracking. The only difference I can see between the two Toms on fracking is that Toxic Tom wants to give the state to the oil and gas industry, and Taxing Tom wants to sell it to them. In either case, the people of Pennsylvania will be the losers. I won’t bother to point out Toxic Tom’s failures corruptness. We all know them too well. So, on to Taxing Tom, and why I think he’s going to be a disaster, too. Taxing Tom Wolf intends to impose a severance tax on gas drilling. Sounds good, and some may even think that a severance tax is going to slow down drilling, but the reality is a tax, like any other tax on any other industry, will serve to institutionalize it because it will create a ‘cash cow’ for the legislature to become dependent on to fund other programs. Once fracking becomes a “PA Institution” and the state becomes increasing more dependent on it, it will then encourage even more drilling, and to make it ‘easier’ for the industry to drill, watch the already inadequate and toothless regulations become even more lax. It is also important to point out that any severance tax/extraction tax imposed upon the gas industry will NOT COST THEM ONE DIME, because they will incorporate that tax into the operating costs that are being deducted from royalty payments, and also pass that additional cost onto the consumer as the industry rakes in potentially record profits by exporting the gas to China, India, Norway, Great Britain, and Canada – which was their ultimate goal from the very beginning. So, in the end, fracking will become a toxic and destructive mainstay in PA, that will NOT make the US ‘energy independent’, NOT lower domestic energy costs as the supply is reduce as we drill rural PA into oblivion to meet overseas demands, and as we now know it is ONLY ‘cleaner’ than coal and oil when burned, but is actually even worse for the environment during it’s lifecycle from extraction, to purification, to liquidation, and transportation, and the methane that will be leaked, vented, and flared throughout this process will have a devastating affect on our global climate since methane is a far more potent “greenhouse gas” than CO2 when it comes to global warming. So, do we want to re-elect Toxic Tom, or replace him with Taxing Tom? Personally, I don’t think it’s going to matter much, so I’ll either be voting Green Party, Independent, or Write-in. Sure, I know that none of the other options could have a snow-balls chance in hell of winning, but I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it, then to vote for something I don’t and be stuck with it and have that on my conscience. Ultimately, the people of Pennsylvania will end up with whatever government they’re willing to tolerate. It’s time the people became less tolerant, and more demanding. After all PA is a “Commonwealth” and those we elect are supposed to work for us, not corporate special interests. We need to stop settling for what we perceive as the “lesser” evil, because the “lesser” is still an “evil”.

  2. In addition to endorsing the wise comments of John Trallo, I’d also just add that we shouldn’t be surprised at all that Mr. Wolf–who I have described as the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing in comparison to Corbett who’s just the Wolf in the Wolf outfit–would take money from the Gas industry and would appoint McGinty–whose gas connections were always clear–as the head of his PAC.

    The only real difference without a difference between Corbett and Wolf is that at least Corbett had the guts to sell PA–converting it from a commonwealth into PA, Inc–outright, whereas Wolf is going to try to convince us that somehow taxing the industry benefits US. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as Trallo points out, taxing the industry institutionalizes it by making social programs dependent on the revenue–AND this will have a corrosive effect on what little regulation we have because less regulation = more production = more profits = more tax revenue = more program support = re-election. WE DO have alternatives–the Green Party. What we seem to lack is resolve and a dollop of plain old courage.

    • Do you know more about McGinty’s husband, Karl Hausker? And, what is Wolf’s daughter’s name and are you sure she is with ERM? So, why did Wolf want McGinty to be head of the PA State Dem Party? I guess the dots are beginning to connect themselves. Throw in Rendell’s fracking connections if you know them.

      • Wolf’s daughter is Katie Wolf. She donated $2,000 to her dad’s campaign on this last report and listed her employer as ERM.

  3. Outstanding, John. I could not have stated the case better, and like you, I will be voting for someone that I want to see become govenor. I’d like to know if there will be any Green candidate this year.

  4. So, this one issue will prevent you all from seeing to it that Corbet
    is defeated?? Forget about education, reproductive justice, LGBT rights,healthcare, etc.!? Voting for the green party candidate may give you all a feel-good moment, but how good will you feel when Corbet ends up winning, and everything remains as it is (including fracking)?There is a very clear choice in this election. Defeating Corbet should be the top priority, and casting a protest vote for a third party will accomplish nothing.

  5. I appreciate your sentiment, Susan, and I am very familiar with the logic of your argument. We could battle this back and forth for a long time. My main point to you would be that it is voters like me that have helped pull the democratic party back to actually being the democratic party. My vote just might be more valuable as a protest, and I think you were a little insensitive in your accusations. You have no idea how ardently I have fought my whole life for the issues that you have mentioned.

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