The selling of Pennsylvania

PA Gov. Tom Corbett is an out-and-out whore (and not just for the fracking industry), and no matter which Democrat runs against him, you need to suck up and support them — not just with your vote, but with your time and money. Because this guy is bleeding us dry with his cronyism and corruption:

IT WAS JAN. 18, 2011 – just a day before Gov. Corbett took the oath of office – when, without warning, trucks started rolling one after another into a once-abandoned industrial site in the Susquehanna River town of Sunbury, Pa.

At the end of that day, stunned and angry neighbors counted 27 large dump trucks on their small residential street, filled with the debris from gas-drilling rigs in the Marcellus Shale. Some of the trucks were leaking liquids, said the neighbors, including Cora Campbell, who recalled that “it smelled like a combination of diesel fuel and dirt.”

For months, Campbell and others in the history-rich town of 10,000, an hour north of Harrisburg, and environmental activists pressed the new owner of the site, the logistics firm Moran Industries, and regulators from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to find out what was happening at the property and how it could handle so much fracking waste without environmental permits.

But there was something else that Sunbury residents didn’t find out until long after DEP sided with Moran Industries: Its subsidiary’s contract with an interstate railroad, signed three months after the waste-transfer station opened, now meant that it was exempt from Pennsylvania permitting laws.

It turned out that the company’s owner, John Moran Jr., wasn’t just a major political donor who’d given more than $100,000 to Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign, but he also had gifted more than $2,400 for Corbett’s personal travel, including hosting the governor and his wife on a yacht off Rhode Island in July 2011. The trips weren’t revealed until last fall, in an amendment to an earlier Corbett ethics-disclosure form.

Corbett and his aides have strongly denied that his friendship and his personal gifts from the head of Moran Industries had any impact on his policies, or on any actions by regulators in the Corbett administration. Indeed, the GOP governor has made reducing regulations on business a cornerstone of his policies, and he famously urged lawmakers in March 2011: “Let’s make Pennsylvania the Texas of the natural-gas boom.”

Still, Sunbury residents and environmental activists are troubled by the appearances in a tangle of money, politics, friendship and environmental risk in a central Pennsylvania region that Hollywood now might call a “promised land” – pitting fracking jobs and profits against the faded dignity of a small, scenic Rust Belt town.

“The broader issue is that during the period when Moran was traveling with the governor, his company had much to gain from favorable interpretation from the DEP of this facility,” said Mark Szybist, a Wilkes-Barre-based lawyer for the environmental group PennFuture who has been following the saga from the start.

One Response to The selling of Pennsylvania

  1. jawbone January 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Can the Federal EPA take any role in helping to protect these people? Or is it considered strictly a state matter?

    This kind of behavior is coming from most of the Repub rightwinger governors — selling out their state’s citizens’ rights to their cronies for the quick buck. Wow.

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