Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer presented his budget to the State House Appropriations committee this past week, and was pointedly asked about the impact to the state from climate change. He couldn’t answer the question, and indeed was reluctant to state any opinion about climate change.
According to StateImpactPA, when asked by State Representative Greg Vitalli (D-Delaware County) if he agreed with the assessment of the Natural Academy of Sciences that
“Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for–and in many cases is already affecting–a broad range of human and natural systems.”
Krancer answered, “I’ll have to study that.”
Upon further questioning about climate change, Secretary Krancer, the state’s chief environmental officer, had nothing useful to say whatsoever. Here’s the clip:
The PA DEP under Secretary Krancer has overseen a boom in unconventional natural gas drilling, and has provided cover to an industry cozy with Governor Tom Corbett. Most recently, the state DEP was forced to rescind a permit after misleading the public as to its nature; the DEP had reclassified treated wastewater to a “beneficial use,” so it could be used as road salts on Pennsylvania’s highways and fields, despite containing arsenic, lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals known to pose a health risk to humans.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a method of natural gas extraction whereby large volumes of water mixed with a proprietary blend of chemicals is shot deep into the earth under pressure, to fracture rock and dislodge pockets of natural gas, which is then captured for commercial use. The fracking industry has grown dramatically in the state during the last five years, due to huge natural gas deposits in the state’s Marcellus shale formation.