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PA-Gov: Wolf Reiterates Support for Fracking After NY Ban

Tom-WolfToday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officially banned hydraulic fracturing.

Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Tom Wolf disagrees.

Cuomo’s decision seals off about 12 million acres of the Marcellus Shale from natural gas drilling. The rationale was that the environmental and health costs of fracking (as it is commonly called) outweigh the economic benefits.

“I cannot support high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” acting health commissioner Howard Zucker said.

When it comes to the vast regions of Pennsylvania sitting atop the Marcellus Shale, though, Governor-Elect Tom Wolf disagrees.

When asked by PoliticsPA if he supports the actions of Gov. Cuomo, Wolf’s camp was clear.

“Governor-elect Wolf opposes a ban, and he will work hard to make sure the process is safe,” responded Jeffrey Sheridan, Press Secretary for Wolf’s transition team.

“Pennsylvania’s natural resources should help the commonwealth become an energy leader, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a magnet for investment and job creation,” he continued. “Governor-elect Wolf’s priority is to ensure that Pennsylvania is an energy leader with all Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity.

“Governor-elect Wolf will work to strengthen the rules governing drilling, increase enforcement of the rules, hire more inspectors, and create a health registry to monitor health issues,” Sheridan concluded.

88 Responses

  1. David-
    Again, stating that “thousands of people are suffering and can’t even drink their local water anymore” doesn’t make it true. I’ve lived here for more than 20 years, and there has not been any reporting of wide spread contanimation of water supplies. If it were occurring, there are plenty of local investigative reporters who’d love to jump all over that story.
    Wendy Lynne-
    Best get used to seeing this from Wolf. He knows he won because a large portion of likely Corbett voters couldn’t stand him; so I doubt he’ll be governing to much more than a bit left-of-center. I support the health registry, since it will likely show that the health issues surrounding fracking aren’t nearly as bad as some are claiming.

  2. That’s right Wendy Lee, pound sand.

    When the anti-frackers are led by ends-justify-the-means radicals with discredited views and deceptive tactics, it only further marginalizes the fringe.

    If the anti-development crowd is surprised by Wolf (as it appears), maybe they should look inward toward their own failed voices and tactics.

  3. What’s most striking about Pennsylvania Governor Elect Wolf’s claim in a State Impact interview is that Governor Cuomo’s decision to ban HVHF in New York State is “unfortunate” is Wolf’s admission that he “wants to have his cake and eat it too,” effectively acknowledging that Pennsylvania will not be able to protect the health of its citizens and promote the objectives of the carbon extraction industry. After all, when we use that language–have your cake and eat it too–what we generally mean is that you can’t.

    What Wolf makes clear is that “having his cake” is “protecting” the Delaware River Basin–the stronghold of his Democrat voting base–while continuing the sacrifice of the Susquehanna River Basin–“eating it too.” The difference between these two? Socio-Economic status–or to put it more plainly: the Susquehanna River Basin is home to poorer folks–and that makes them more dispensable.

    No doubt, the governor would deny this elitism–but he can’t.

    The very same reasoning applies to the state parks and forests: preserve (what’s left) of the “special places” of those who have the money and the leisure to enjoy them; make them into dioramas that a few folks can stroll through to convince themselves that we did something. Then, allow pipeline companies like Williams to convert a profit venture for LNG export like the Atlantic Sunrise into a “public utility” for the purposes of seizure via eminent domain for the rest of us–destroying our property values and despoiling our land and water.

    As for the creation of a health registry: our response should be nothing but disdainful incredulity. What is the purpose of providing a registry of more instances of contaminated wells and streams, blow-outs, asthma, cancer other than to insure that future historians shake their head is disgust at our greed? What good will it do us to know that we’ve been poisoned when all we can do is decry it–but not put an end to the assault?

    How many of the sick, dying, dead does Wolf need to see before he decides that the New York ban isn’t “unfortunate”?

    Do we really have any reason to trust Wolf–given the $273,000 he took in gas-soaked campaign donations–including money from IREX whose mission it is to gut the Clean Air Act–to make Department of Health (DOH) complaints concerning frack infrastructure “transparent”?


    (1) The item on the top of Wolf’s wish list is an extraction tax that will institutionalize the industry sewing it right into the tax base–making the gas thugs impossible–ironically–to extract, and making regulation even less likely since less oversight means more revenue.

    (2) Wolf says in the State Impact interview that he’s directing his transition team to review the New York Health Report. That, we have to say, would be laughable did it not portend ongoing tragedy. The Wolf transition team is an all-star cast right out of the gas industry (

    The only thing more “unfortunate” than Governor Elect Wolf’s willful acts of blindness are the activists who still try to convince the rest of us that he can be persuaded to change his mind.

    For more, please see:

    Wendy Lynne Lee

  4. BJ, the Governor-elect and the legislature all think these people are losers. This is them literally pounding sand.

  5. Living in SWPA, I sometimes forget that there are still busybodies that want to ban fracking. These comments were good for a laugh.

  6. Mr. Diano, I’m making an assertion based on personal knowledge after contacting the elderly’s next of kin. Much like you make assertions/accusations all the time and recently of Congressman Brady.

    Raising the minimum wage will increase unemployment and thus freeze more people. My reference on that is Economics 101.

    “If you are that concerned, maybe you would outlaw selling U.S. gas exports to keep supply high, and prices low here.”
    …Another great example of someone who has not taken Economics 101. That would be a disaster for the poor (and the middle class). Just stay true to your stripes and argue that we should nationalize mineral rights. Chavez would be so proud.

    “You don’t seem to understand prove vs disapprove.”
    …You don’t seem to understand that all things have risk. For example, the Commission of Health in NY, understands that there are no studies that show that general use of cars for transportation can be done without injuries.

    Bottom line is that Wolf agrees with me and thinks you guys and your “studies” are not worth listening to. Smart man. Argue with him.

  7. Dr.

    What people freezing to death because of gas prices? Please cite credible news reference.

    The thousands that DO freeze to death each year are mostly the homeless.

    And, if you’d raise the minimum wage to $10 or $15 per hour, you’d save the lives of people choosing between medicine and rent.

    But, there are plenty of people in poverty who can get assistance for home heating, as well as laws that protect people from utilities cutting them of in mid-winter and setting up deferred payments instead.

    If you are that concerned, maybe you would outlaw selling U.S. gas exports to keep supply high, and prices low here.

    So, I’m calling bullsh*t on your claim that fracking is saving thousands from freezing due to gas prices.

    You don’t seem to understand prove vs disapprove.

    The N.Y. study (and others) have PROVEN that fracking is unsafe, and have documented this with many examples.

    As for your claim, you lack the analogous proof that high gas prices caused thousands of deaths, and that fracking (rather than correcting miscalculations of annual demand vs supply) would make a difference.


    There are lease holders getting checks for 10 cents as well. But, you are ignoring (as is Wolf) the thousands of people who are suffering and who can’t even drink their local water anymore. People whose children are sick, miscarriages, and worse.

    Many of the workers drive in from out of state or just reside here temporarily. A few local people making some short term money doesn’t make up for all the long term financial problems like declining property values in polluted areas.

  8. “there are no studies that show that unconventional gas drilling can be done safely without the health problems…”

    There are no studies that disprove that thousands more won’t freeze to death this winter because they cannot afford the price of energy advocated by the luddites on this board. Everything has risk to be managed, but you’re blind to the death you advocate for.

  9. Finally, an official, the Commission of Health in NY, understands that there are no studies that show that unconventional gas drilling can be done safely without the health problems, water contamination and air pollution that so many complain about who live near well pads and their vast infrastructure. I hope Governor Elect Wolfe can look beyond his severance tax to see that NY is protecting its residents from an industry that continues to invest millions in convincing the public that this is safe. Mr. Wolfe talk to people who have lived next to a number of these well pads.

  10. Reading through this thread I’m amazed at all the gloom & doom regarding fracking. I see references to all kinds of politically motivated studies and junk science. The bottom line is that the fracking industry has been operating here in Western PA for twenty years now and none of these predictions have come to pass. If the industry was as destructive to our local environment as being portrayed here, trust me, we would all be flocking to our local township board meetings and banning it in our communities.

    What we have seen is:
    1) Medium to large family farm owners recieving lease payments in the mid to high 6 figures (I know some who have negatiated payments in the 7 figure range)
    2) Middle class property owners (<10 acres) recieving lease payments in the 5 figure range which has help them endure this crap ecomony we've been suffering through for the past six years.
    3) A significant number of our young people right out of high-school earning $60-80K working in the industry. (Granted it won't last forever but many are able to stash away nice junks of money for further education or a down-payment on their first home)
    4) Sizable contributions from drilling companies to our local township governments to help fund parks and roads.

    This is why our elected representatives to Harrisbug will do everything they can to prevent any restrictions to fracking in the Marcellus Shale region.

  11. Dear Mr. Wolf (you haven’t been sworn in yet) How dare you comment on the negative impacts this toxic industrial practice has had on good tax paying citizens here in PA when you haven’t been to visit one family that has been without water for 5 years. Not one family that is stuck in Fracked land that they can’t possible move away from without assistance. Who want’s to buy a home with no water or clean air to breath. The DEP itself has found more than 240 cases of water contamination and their records aren’t sound, there are hundreds more. The team you put in place to monitor the Marcellus is an insult to the people who put you in office. Not one person from the health community or environmental community that isn’t part of the hypocritical CSSD. It’s a shame you allow yourself to be bought like all the others. Not being a professional politician we had better hopes for you but from the team you have chosen we now see that’s nothing is going to change. In fact it will only get worse under your watch. Sad for PA that our politicians are more concerned about $$ and promoting a toxic industry than protecting the citizens they represent. If NY found it unsafe for the people by studying what is happening here in PA how can you honestly say it’s good for us? Your legacy will be written as: “Tom Wolf, the man who had the power to save PA and didn’t!” Good luck with that!

  12. From what I hear from relatives who live in Greene County, they support it and view fracking as far better than coal mining. Considering how badly the coal industry continues to be, this is not shocking. The thing I don’t get is how people not from the fracking regions fail to realize the bulk of these supposedly pristine rural areas are far from pristine. Most of the fracking areas have one form of industrialization already.

  13. We are a water rich state, and water is the resource that we will need into forever… i cant believe we are letting drilling companies permanently poison our water and thus ourselves for short-term profit. Why does the last gasp of the fossil fuel age have to ruin the health and wealth of our people and our state? Because of greed, no politicians are willing to pay attention to the science, the health risks and the long term consequences. He plans to make it safe?! He’s proving he’s already in the hands of the industry. He obviously has not done his homework, but as anyone who has looked seriously into fracking knows, it hasn’t been made safe in 60 years b’c it cant be made safe… cancer-causing chemicals, radioactivity, climate destabilizing methane leaks, ground water poisoned forever

  14. I agree with David Diano. Ship has sailed. But Gov needs to crack hard on frack operations to insure safety while suspending future operations. Counties yet to be fracked should do prelim testing for methane and then place moratorium until safety standards are met. Existing operations should be taxed to have cash for damages caused as well as for new revenue.

  15. It’s hard to be lectured by someone who’s affordable, environmental, and healthy solution to keeping warm in the Winter is to burn wood.

    That said, the utopia where we can start eliminating conventional fuels without dire consequences for the poor is a fantasy. Last winter’s stretched gas supplies to make up for coal proved deadly expensive. If everyone followed Cuomo’s lead, he’d end up with one hell of a health-impact report to read.

  16. Unsanctioned R-

    The fossil fuel industry has a lot of hidden costs that make it more expensive. It is heavily subsidized with tax breaks, despite how rich the companies are and how they make billions in profit per year. Also, the US military spends a lot to defend oil/gas resources in foreign countries. This doesn’t even take into account the 20,000 premature deaths per year in the US due to pollution and long term health costs and long term cleanup costs.

  17. What a disappointing statement from Gov. elect Wolf. I am of the opinion that his reasoning is motivated by seeing fracking as a source of much needed state revenue. Besides the huge number of health risks already listed, I am deeply concerned by the illegal dumping of radioactive fracking waste water into rivers that are the source of our drinking water. A much much better policy would be to tax carbon pollution and refund all the revenue to every Pennsylvania citizen. Such a tax would need to increase every year until carbon pollution is eliminated. Finding funding for the education increases that Gov. Wolf wants would be better found by closing the Delaware loophole for corporations.

  18. Dear Gov. Wolf, Please ignore our constitutional form of government and change the laws like Obama does because I want the next Republican executives to do the same and use you as the excuse for trampling on the rights of dissenters.

  19. Dear Governor elect:
    I voted for you. Your job is to manifest the will of the people, not force your agenda. Clearly the people of Pennsylvania want fracking banned. The jobs are temporary, thus so are the “funds” it would provide. There are plenty of ways to generate revenue in Pennsylvania without fracking. It is a matter of creativity and will.

    The environmental devastation is irreversible and no amount of tax on the gas could undo it. Besides, whatever (perceived) financial gain Pennsylvania will get from fracking, it will lose manifold in having to clean up environmental damage and sickness in humans and livestock (which already exists).

    We will not turn away from the issue. The People of the Commonwealth want fracking banned. Stand by and for us or step aside and we’ll bring someone in who will.

  20. True. The most regressive of taxes is the high cost of energy the progressives want to force everyone to buy.

  21. It’s ‘silly season’ on Politics PA as well! Those of you who oppose Fracking behind environmental concerns are the same folks who would have us pay $4.50/gal for gas to keep a pristine offshore view while the rest of the world produces crude, and charges us for it.

  22. “alternative energy generated electricity is rapid approaching price parity.”

    You’re a joker and have no idea how the energy market works. I’ll send your condolences to the popsicles’ next of kin.

  23. Oh, by the way, The Dr. is In, the “War on Coal” is being waged by the natural gas industry. And alternative energy generated electricity is rapid approaching price parity. Please try and keep up.

  24. Pennsylvania is no longer a two-term governor state. Fracking in PA isn’t going away and is only going to become a more decisive issue in the coming years. Don’t be surprised to see Mr. Wolf primaried in 2018 if he doesn’t take a stand against fracking.

  25. I’ll bring it up again: does anyone know, given the existence of Act 13, if Wolf can unilaterally ban fracking (known in Act 13 as “unconventional wells”)?

  26. All these “health concerns reminds me of the popsicles in the morgue last winter when our leaders’ misguided War on Coal ended the health of the least among us who couldn’t afford “alternative energy.” Get some perspective.

  27. Nothing will change in Pa. due to the lack of public outcry. If only 10% of the population that is suffering at the hands of this industry actually spoke out, we could easily demand and immediate (and much overdue) moritorium. #IdleNoMore.

  28. Unsanctioned R-

    1) If you lived in fracking area you could heat your home by lighting your water faucet.

    2) The objection is not to “gas” but to the fracking method used to obtain the gas as well as the VERY toxic chemicals being used, radioactive wastes, illegal dumping and a complete disregard for public safety. Fracking is inherently unsafe. If they want the gas then they need to find a safer technology to get it.

    3) We weren’t freezing to death before fracking due to lack of gas. A lot of this fracked gas is begin sold overseas, so it’s not helping us here anyway.

    4) Wind, solar and other renewables keep gaining every year. Some people in rural areas use logs in a fireplace to heat their homes.

  29. NY Governor Cuomo bans fracking in the entire state. He bases his decision on health studies showing harm (in PA) that are presented in NY by the Dept of Health.
    Maybe Wolfe would ban fracking if PA had a Dept of Health study to rely on.

    Instead hands were tied, studies unfunded, symptoms unrecorded, medical care missing, requests ignored. That is hardly no evidence of harm.
    It is evidence that those in the know can prevent studies that will expose the harm.
    What happens if they are the very advisors the Governor is relying on?
    You can guess. Best advice money can buy.

    PLEASE stop poisoning PA. Energy plans MUST be based on healthy families living in healthy communities.
    NOT on sacrifice zone politics for profits.

    America should not become their sacrifice zone.
    Let it end in PA in 2015.

  30. Whoa, who sent the blast email to all the poor-hating nutterbutters? I suppose they can heat their homes with wind and solar to keep from freezing this winter? Even Wolf laughs at you behind your back.

  31. Governor Cuomo stated that after studying the science of fracking and health, he decided to support the health of New Yorkers and the environment.
    Meanwhile the citizens of Pennsylvania are treated as guinea pigs and the environment is trashed.
    Governor elect Wolfe’s plan —put a price on our health.
    Thanks for nothing Governorr Wolfe!!!!!

  32. While the argument can be made that Wolf never said he was for a “BAN”, he was against expansion into state parks and such.

    The understanding was that Wolf would/could be for a moratorium on NEW fracking, but would allow existing wells to continue and tax those wells. There is an issue of how much can be done when there are existing drilling contracts and wells in place for a complete ban.

    However, the “hope” was that in light of mounting evidence about the harms of fracking, that Wolf would take stronger action. If he puts people with integrity in charge of DEP and/or health department, they should wind up informing him that fracking represents a public health/safety emergency and should be shut down. Corbett’s people actively ignored complaints, refused to investigate claims, mishandled samples, and generally put the industry over the residents.

    Given the extensive report from New York (with problems in PA as examples of the dangers), Wolf needs to reevaluate his position in light of this new information. (Well, not so much “new” as more “officially documented and certified”.)

    Doing the “right thing” is going to be difficult for Wolf because he is inheriting a huge budget deficit. But, he needs to look at the report from NY and talk to Cuomo.

  33. If fracking isn’t safe for New Yorkers, it isn’t safe for Pennsylvanians. Peoples’ health should not be the price paid for promised economic prosperity. Be the leader you were elected to be and a champion of the people, Gov. Wolf.

  34. Here is Governor Andrew Cuomo, responding to demonstrators thanking him for banning fracking in NYC. This is what democracy looks like: If Tom Wolf thinks that we will roll over and remain silent, he has another thing coming to him. If he doesn’t at least agree to a moratorium in the rest of the Delaware Water Shed, than it will be up to us to impose it on him by our bodies. The DRBC, the Delaware River Basin Commission also has a say. The governors of Delaware and New York State now are on the record against fracking, all we need is Governor elect Tom Wolf and/or President Obama through the Army Corps of Engineers, who sit on the DRBC to say no to fracking in the Delaware Water Shed. There are more of us then there are of them. The people united will never be defeated. Remember 1776 and they said the American colonist couldn’t overthrow the British Empire. As it says in the Declaration of Independence, “it is the inherent right of the people to alter or abolish their form of government.” Do the gas drillers rule or do “we, the people.” rule? Which side are you on Governor-elect Tom Wolf?

  35. If Governor Elect Tom Wolf won’t follow the lead of Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York, then it is up to us to hold his feet to the fire. He said in his election would support a moratorium in the Delaware Water Shed, that is the region on the Eastern shore of the Delaware River. It is the position of the PA State Democratic Committee passed in a resolution on June 15, 2013 calling for a moratorium on fracking until the industry can prove that they can do it safely, which they can not and will not because it is too expensive and cuts into their precious profits. Will he listen to the $273,000 campaign contributions from the gas industry or to the people that elected him? It is unconstitutional to continue to support fracking anywhere in the Commonwealth of PA. Go to and Fracking is too dangerous, too expensive and totally unnecessary for our energy needs.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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