The Pennsylvania “Environmental” Council

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council is an organization that the Public Accountability Initiative first touched upon in our recent report on the revolving door between Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators and the natural gas industry. The group is perhaps the most prominent voice on environmental issues in the state of Pennsylvania and often provides representatives to Commonwealth boards, commissions, and panels. Its mission statement reads:

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) protects and restores the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy. PEC believes in the value of partnerships with the private sector, government, communities and individuals to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

On the fracking issue, PEC has positioned itself as a moderate, calling itself “the voice of reason.” It has called for a severance tax in Pennsylvania, but supports drilling in the Marcellus asserting “[i]t is widely considered that the Marculle [sic] Shale play offers an abundant fuel to help bridge the gap between today’s energy portfolio and a future supply that reflects both a reduced carbon footprint and reduce dependence on foregin [sic] sources of energy.”

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Frackademics: Shale Institute’s Jacobi hired to do seismic study for DEC

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has chosen Robert Jacobi, a University at Buffalo geologist with ties to the natural gas industry, to study the link between fracking and earthquakes, a DEC spokeswoman told Bloomberg‘s Jim Esftathiou, Jr. Jacobi, who is a senior advisor to gas driller EQT Production and who runs a geoscience consultancy, was a co-director of the University at Buffalo’s short-lived Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI), which was closed in November 2012 following a controversy over an industry-friendly study that downplayed fracking’s risks. “Jacobi has a vast range of experience that makes his expertise useful,” the DEC said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg. Jacobi’s experience includes a long career with the fossil fuel industry, to which he still has ties, and recently reviewing the report that led to SRSI’s closure.

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