frackpackThis past June, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party passed a resolution to support a moratorium on natural gas industrialization.   The resolution was approved with a 115-81 vote.

Within days of the passage, Former Gov. Ed Rendell called the moratorium resolution “ill-advised”.   Could his paid consultant position to a private equity firm with investments in natural gas have anything to do with it?

Kathleen McGinty, a former PA DEP Secretary and now running for PA Governor echoed Rendell’s position. McGinty and Rendell are both associated with Element Partners, the private equity firm with natural gas investments.  (See: Kathleen McGinty Needs Gas-X).

Following in lock-step is US Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), who is another gubernatorial candidate.  She believes the moratorium is “misguided”.  (see: Allyson Doesn’t Live In Gasland ).

John Hanger, another former PA DEP Secretary, adjusted his buttocks on the fence:

“My answer is not a full yes or a full no,” he said via email. “I support a moratorium in our state forests and parks, the public lands. I wrote the current moratorium on state forests because state scientists said leasing more acres for drilling would damage the forests and cause the loss of the vital ‘sustainable forest’ certification. The loss of that certification would have destroyed thousands of jobs in the timber industry that requires timber to be sustainably forested.”


Eighteen House Democrats have written to the Democratic Party State Chairman expressing disappointment by the moratorium vote .

Prodding the House Democrats is a natural gas front groups called the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).   They claim to be a non-profit non-partisan voice for the energy consumer.  The CEA letter is being echoed by Energy-In-Depth (EID) which is a public relations campaign created by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).  We will most likely see it echoed by other related front and astro turf groups shortly.

What they really are is a front group created by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and run by the lobby/PR firm HBW Resources.  (see: HBW Resources, The Frack Pack).  The CEA letter is being echoed by Energy-In-Depth (EID) which is a public relations campaign created by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).

CEA may be non-profit, but non-partisan?  Hardly, CEA has very strong ties to the Republican Party.

Representing “consumers” is even more of a stretch, unless you consider industry corporations to be consumers.  (Watch: The Messengers of the Natural Gas Industry)

We are seeing messaging coordination in action by corporate interests masquerading as “real people”.

Let’s compare the letter from the House Democrats to the one they received from the “Consumer” Energy Alliance (CEA).

See if you can spot the reoccurring talking points being echoed.

CEA Says: If turned from a party plank into law the ban would cripple the fastest growing economic engine in Pennsylvania, the oil and natural gas industry.

House Dems Say: To implement a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing at this time would create immense burdens and significant adverse impacts on the Commonwealth and citizens of Pennsylvania with no discernible gain.

CEA Says: We can both agree the natural gas industry is an economic driver for the Marcellus Shale region. In 2011, Washington County had the third highest employment surge of any county in the nation. The Aker Philadelphia shipyard is rehiring 800 workers to help build two new tankers in response to domestic oil and gas production. Even better, job growth projections in Pennsylvania over the next ten years exceed the projected national average.

House Dems Say:  According to a recent economic analysis, the natural gas industry invested more than $12 billion in Pennsylvania, while supporting more than 200,000 good paying jobs.

Note – the House Dems do not mention which “economic analysis” nor who did the “analysis”.  Could they be referring the one done by IHS Global Insights which was paid for by natural gas interests? (See: IHS Global Insights: A Game of Clones).

They have also ignored their recent past PR blog spot by John Hanger about Pennsylvania being 49th in job creation.   Maybe they are really thankful for the “gas jobs” otherwise Pennsylvania would have been dead last in job creation.

CEA Says: Many critics are raising concerns, as they should, about safety. Here is the latest. A federal study monitoring wells in Greene County conducted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory showed no evidence of chemical contamination of local drinking water.

House Dems Say: State and federal agencies have studied the natural gas industry and the process of hydraulic fracturing for years.  Time after time, study after study, and expert after expert repeatedly indicated that natural gas drilling is a well-regulated industry with minimal impact – when done right.

Note – Articles related The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) study has been criticized as being short on facts and long on industry talking points.  (See: DOE: Fracks Can Hit Aquifers !).

The remainder of the House Dem letter, while it does not echo the CEA letter, it does echo the standard industry talking points.

We are left with a few questions:

1. Whether Republican or Democratic are these representatives really representing people or are they representing the “corporate paper people”?

2. Is there really a difference between the two parties when it comes to really representing PEOPLE?

3. Have these representatives actually read the studies mentioned, or just skimmed the corporate talking points?

4. Are you sick and tired of being left with a choice between two evils at the polls?  Or in some cases no choice at all because an incumbent is running unopposed?

Let me remind you, that this is OUR government, a government of the PEOPLE – real people.   Those in office are not the leaders, and they are not the “boss of you” – each and everyone of us are the leaders and the boss.  It’s high time we start taking responsibility and hold our “employees” accountable – or fire them.

© 2013 by Dory Hippauf

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