Covering their tracks

In keeping with his blatant goal of doing whatever he can to allow unimpeded gas drilling, PA Gov. Tom Corbett ignores any regulatory requirements that might get in the way:

HARRISBURG — The administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has cut funding for a wildlife research program by nearly 70 percent, eliminating state money for projects meant to examine the impact of natural gas drilling and climate change, according to a report.

Richard Allan, the secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, eliminated 13 of the 21 projects that staff in the agency’s Wildlife Resource Conservation Program had recommended for funding, StateImpact Pennsylvania reported Wednesday.

Allan failed to consult with program staff about which programs to keep and which ones to cut, and only one drilling-related project — evaluating plant growth along natural gas pipeline routes — remained after last month’s cuts, reported StateImpact, a collaboration of NPR and public radio stations in Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

The program’s budget was cut from $780,000 to $251,683.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources attributed the funding cuts to declining revenue, and said some of the proposed research was duplicative. The Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania chapter on Tuesday criticized the funding reductions as an “attempt to conceal the true environmental impacts of gas drilling.”