It all started with a two-line email that filtered out to Pennsylvania’s shale inspectors.
‘Effective immediately,’ wrote executive deputy secretary John Hines, ‘any violations related to natural gas drilling operations would need approval from the top of the agency.’
‘Any waiver from this directive will not be acceptable,’ wrote Hines, who now works at Shell and declined to comment for this project. (Read the whole Story)
It speaks worlds that Hines now works at Shell.
When one works for the government the internal political winds make or break careers. Too often the decision to do the right thing requires that one consider whether one’s superior will back you if there is push back from the regulated party. At the very least, being reversed is embarrassing.
Maybe the boss’s next career move is to take his or her knowledge and that all-important high level access and cash it in by landing a job in the regulated industry as a high paid relationship manager and expediter. The proverbial revolving door and such cozy connections with industry do not make for stringent or aggressive enforcement.
Is it any wonder that we don’t trust our DEP to protect us? When we see “the Secretary,” as his staff refer to John Quigley, personally ramrodding the fast-paced agenda of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force should we worry? Should we question his objectivity when he speaks about creating a grid of pipelines that will touch every county in the state, all without any discussion of whether it’s prudent in the face of global warming, the glut of gas in the world market, and shaky drilling industry financial prospects?
Beware the Carbon bubble. How much of our beautiful “common-wealth” will be sacrificed and bulldozed in the name of shale gas development? Today it looks like tens of thousands of miles of clear cut hillsides and disrupted neighborhoods. The fox is in the hen house and most everyone who could stop the carnage is looking away.
Sigh. Well, maybe we can re-purpose those costly pipeline right of ways to build vast linear solar and wind farms when the climate gets bad enough.