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. “Marilyn Gallagher says:
    December 18, 2014 at 9:21 am
    I never would have voted for Tom Wolf had I known he supported fracking. ”

    He never said he supported a ban and in fact he consistently said he was for an increased tax on it.

    A fracking ban was NEVER on the table with Wolf and if a voter didn’t know that, it is because no one actually looked into any position on the candidate they were voting for.

  2. To the multiple people here who have commented something like ‘I feel deceived by Wolf’ or ‘I wouldn’t have voted for Wolf if I knew he supported fracking’ … that’s right: the guy centered his entire campaign on taxing something to raise money for education, but now: yeah, he’s actually going to ban it. Does anybody actually read the positions of people they vote for?

  3. Get a life. We need the gas. You use the gas. Can’t have it both ways. Wolf is correct on this one.

  4. Yes, our natural resources are important. I can’t think of any more important than air and water and PEOPLE! This grand experiment in PA needs to be stopped. We’re beyond tired of being guinea pigs and living in the sacrifice zone! The PA Health Registry will be a “List of the Harmed” not a preventative measure to protect health.

  5. Two points here that need to be taken seriously in PA:

    1) “Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan says the incoming governor continues to oppose a ban on fracking.”

    * Meaning he is committed to allow fracking to continue in PA.

    2) “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,” he wrote in an email.”

    *In other words, PA residents will be used as ‘lab rats and guinea pigs’ as Wolf ‘monitors’ the already well documented health impacts in other states. That is like saying, there is an acceptable number of people who will become seriously, chronically ill, and may even die that is fair exchange for the tax revenue fracking may generate for the state. I submit that Wolf can not possibly “strengthen the rules governing drilling” when there is no regulatory model that exists that demonstrates that it can be regulated safely, and as history has taught us that whenever a state becomes dependent on an activity for tax revenue, enforcement becomes more lax in order to encourage more of that activity to generate more tax revenue. PA residents and activists need to wake-up and realize that their “seat at Wolf’s negotiating table” is meaningless. At best it will result in more empty feel-good regulatory language intended to quell the growing resistance to unconventional oil and gas extraction and allowing it to continue as Wolf “monitor health issues”.

    It’s important to remember that Tom Wolf accepted $273,000 in direct “campaign contributions” from the oil and gas industry, and currently sits on the board of, and is a major shareholder in the IREX Corporation, and construction company that stands to profit by building the KXL.

  6. I want to ask Tom Wolf, and John Hanger, and Katie McGinty if they would want their children to play next to a well pad or a waste pit? Would they live a few hundred feet away? We now know Governor Cuomo’s answer, what’s theirs?

  7. I never would have voted for Tom Wolf had I known he supported fracking. This is a big reason why I did not vote for Corbett. I do commend Govornor Cuomo for protecting his state from this impending disaster.

  8. I for one am grateful to New York and the leaders there who took the time to explore the science of the fracking industry rather than initiate a current day “gold rush” for short term benefits. There is nothing more valuable than our earth and in particular our water. Fracking abuses both. I can only hope that Wolf will come to see that regulation is not able to fix the problem. The flaws in the basic process and the long term degradation of the materials are profoundly degrading to our environment.

  9. Ryan

    Who says the people posting are progressives? The voters in Denton, TX voted to ban fracking (and that’s the birthplace of fracking).

    These rural areas where they are fracking are pretty conservative sections of PA. When your cattle get lesions, and you can’t drink the water from the faucet, the R’s and D’s labels don’t matter.

    This is a public health issue, and and science is in (and was suppressed by Corbett and his appointees in DEP). The truth is getting out now, and Wolf can’t continue to ignore it.

  10. I share most of the concerns about horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing expressed by the other commenters. But I wonder if any are considering the political realities of the situation. I’m not sure Wolf could ban fracking without an act of the a conservative GOP legislature. Who thinks that might happen? Wolf does have a chance to counter some of the negative effects of fracking though executive branch actions. Pragmatism, rather than absolutism, might be called for.

  11. Dear Governer Wolfe,

    You should’ve seen my Facebook feed yesterday. Everybody I knew was enamoured of Cuomo and his recent decision to ban fracking in all of New York.

    Surely you must know that fracking poisons our water supplies, sickens our people, and is only a short-term solution to our energy needs.

    We all assumed that you would follow suit and ban fracking in Pennsylvania as well. Therefore, this recent press release claiming you support fracking is an affront.

    For you to feel more love from us Pennsylvanians, please follow Cuomo’s lead. And then look to wind and solar for our future energy needs. There’s plenty of job creation and money to be made with renewables as well.

  12. Wolf, like his soon-to-be predecessor, has been blinded by the shiney when it comes to the unsustainable energy industry.

    While many people point to “all the money” from fracking, this is a short term gain. What follows is long term pain with Pennsylvania taxpayers footing the bill.

    As PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille stated in the ACT 13 ruling:
    “By any responsible account, the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction”

    PA hasn’t learned from past “booms”. PA taxpayers are still footing the bill to restore forests destroyed in the “lumber boom”, still footing the bill for finding and plugging abandoned and orphaned wells from the “oil boom”, still footing the bill for coal mine cleanups from the “coal boom” and will be footing the bill for frackers in the future.

  13. Nice to see so many progressives attack Wolf, but you have to wonder if they hate Obama as well as he loves fracking too?

  14. Tom Wolf, your term as Governor will end in disgrace just like your predecessor if you do not put an end to nonconventional gas drilling in PA!

  15. Tom Wolf, we have had enough short term destructive leadership, that is why you were elected, to turn this ship around. You will lose tremendous support by continuing to allow this activity in our state. We need long term sustainable energy goals!

  16. The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) called for a moratorium on drilling in Pennsylvania almost four years ago, when evidence was already accumulating that the immediate health risks and long term damage to our environment outweighed any economic benefits, the latter being very short term in the shale boom. We also endorsed Tom Wolf, knowing that he did not support this position, because he clearly presented a more humane vision for our state than Corbett.
    With this decision from New York, the stage is set for Gov. Wolf to ask an impartial panel of experts in the health, environmental and economic impacts of fracking and ask the to develop a plan in the short range, to bring fracking to a halt, and protect our Commonwealth. Impartial requires that no one on the panel have a financial stake in the industry.

  17. The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) called for a moratorium on drilling in Pennsylvania almost four years ago, when evidence was already accumulating that the immediate health risks and long term damage to our environment outweighed any economic benefits, the latter being very short term in the shale boom. We also endorsed Tom Wolf, knowing that he did not support this position, because he clearly presented a more humane vision for our state than Corbett.
    With this decision from New York, the stage is set for Gov. Wolfe to ask an impartial panel of experts in the health, environmental and economic impacts of fracking and ask the to develop a plan in the short range, to bring fracking to a halt, and protect our Commonwealth. Impartial requires that no one on the panel have a financial stake in the industry.

  18. Dear Tom Wolf – If you truly want Pennsylvania to be an energy leader, with ALL Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity, it is time to heed the science and stop fracking of our beautiful state. Pennsylvanians are just as worthy of protection as are New Yorkers and our state is just as worthy as well.

    Please give us that “Fresh Start” you promised by putting a halt to fracking and fossil fuels and embracing sustainable renewable energy – solar, wind and geothermal. Let’s have our state be the leader in production and products for a cleaner, safer world. With Climate Change upon us, the time to act is NOW!

    Please study the science. You will see regulation of fracking is not the answer.

    Be the leader we have hoped for – abide by our constitution which guarantees our right to clean air, pure water and a healthy environment; both now and for future generations. Help make Pennsylvania a leader in CLEAN energy.
    We are counting on you.

  19. Tom, A real leader first considers his/her people. Safety for the people Should be talked about. Instead you lay down the law”we wiil frack on”! As suggested to you, environmental groups across the state are willing to participate in your fact gathering. Lets work together. You aren’t on the throne, but you already have the gasman whispering in your ear while crying over a tax increase!
    Tom, stop, think and listen to the voice of Science. Take time to carefully read the Documentation that led to a BAN on fracking for the entire state of New York. Buddy up with Cuomo, take your power by taking your time, weigh the evidence. Tom, job creation is not in the boom and bust. No more new wells. Halt fracking.

  20. “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…” Dear Mr. Wolf, What part of — HYDROFRACKING is NOT SAFE AND NEVER WILL BE — don’t you understand? The science is already in with proof positive of dangers and health risks. As for job creation — just shift away from fossil fuels to RENEWABLES! We look to you for stewardship. Please lead us into a new paradigm. Embrace the fact that Mother Nature is reacting against what we have done to her. What do you think climate change is all about? A PA Moratorium is the least you should do while studies continue to substantiate the obvious.

  21. Obviously, Tom Wolf is grossly uninformed on the health risks of toxic fracking, otherwise he would be supporting a ban. I can’t believe he would be as callous as Tom Corbett in not caring about the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. To state Fracking can be done safely is an oxymoron. It can’t. If it could, then there would not have been the need for VP Dick Cheney to exempt fracking from the major environmental protection laws.

  22. “Would I let my child play in a school field near [fracking]?,” asked Health Commissioner Zucker. He continued, “The answer is no.”
    In response, Governor Cuomo said, “If you wouldn’t want your children to live near fracking, no one’s children should have to.”

    Apparently rural sacrifice zone children are too few in number and their parents votes too few in number to make any impact on Gov. elect Wolf’s thinking on this matter. I wish I had thrown my vote away on someone else.

  23. Stephen Cleghorn-

    Given the wealth of scientific data on the health issues, I can only interpret Wolf’s response as: We don’t care about people’s health when we’ve got a budget to fill with fracking taxes.

    We just need to him admit the truth that this is his policy. THEN we can ask him for his $$ per life trade-off threshold point.

    Is it $1 million per life ruined? $2 million? Half a million?

    From Wolf’s perspective it appears to be an actuarial question of how many lives he’s willing to sacrifice for his budget goals. (This is true of many executive branch decisions of how many lives lost are worth other policy objectives, though no executive will admit to it.)

    Beyond the callousness of that, is that he’s only looking at the short term tax revenue and not the long term clean-up costs and long term health-costs, so he’s got the actuarial figures tilted the wrong way in the first place, before he even starts balancing it against lives.

    It’s hard to tell how much wrong information he is getting or how much he really doesn’t want to hear the inconvenient truth.

  24. Dear Tom Wolf,

    PLEASE stop fracking in our state. Fracking only helps certain corporations and hurts the land, air, water and health for Pennsylvanians. PLEASE think again about this issue for the good health of the people. Thank you!

  25. New York has arguably conducted the longest, most complete, most publicly transparent process of analyzing the public health and environmental risks of fracking of any state in the union. The officials who conducted this review carry credentials on environmental and public health protection that are beyond challenge. Given what New York officials have concluded, that the public health risks are too great to allow fracking, we need a point-by-point response to the New York assessment from Pennsylvania’s Gov-elect Tom Wolf. It is not good enough to reiterate that he supports fracking. Science is science, from whatever state in which it is done. Governor-elect Wolf needs to talk immediately to the NY Department of Health’s Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and ask for a presentation as to why Dr. Zucker recommends a ban in fracking. If the public health risks are too great in New York, then why are they not too great in Pennsylvania? We need to know how Tom Wolf answers this question.

  26. Wolf can start to make up the budget gap by eliminating the Delware loophole for corporations. This loophole allows many corporations to pay much less tax than the much bemoaned high tax rate for corporations in Pennsylvania.

  27. Wolf needs to address this directly and allow two way communication. It concerns me that his guy who runs flack is responding to something as important as the NY ban on fracking. That tells me he doesn’t get it.

  28. Ny Health Dept & DEC looked at the science and risks of fracking and made a correct decision. The amazing thing is that more than half of the studies that show fracking is unsafe are from PA. Wake up Wolf. Fracking cannot be done safely. How about making PA the leader in renewable energy and the manufacturing of equipment for that industry. There are more jobs being created in solar than gas.

  29. There are some significant problems with Wolf’s transition review team:

    In the “ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION” team he has:
    * George Ellis – Executive Director PA Coal Alliance

    * Joseph Reinhardt – Co-Chairman, Energy and Natural Resources Group of Babst Calland

    * Shari Williams – Community Outreach Manager, Marcellus Shale Coalition

    * Steve Winberg – Vice-President, Consol Energy


  30. Pennsylvania has been used as an example of how not to extract fossil fuels, especially via fracking (exempt from federal water and air safeguards thanks to the Halliburton Loophole), for years. Rendell had a hand but Corbett especially pushed it through without regard to public health or environmental safety (politicizing the understaffed DEP to the point that many call it “Don’t Expect Protection.”). We can blame greed and willful ignorance greased by campaign contributions from the industry. It’s no coincidence there’s a huge revolving door between Pa. governors and DEP chiefs (Rendell, Krancer, etc.) and jobs in Big Gas. Corbett took at least $1 million, according to the AP. If cloudy Germany can find success with solar, surely a state named for Penn’s Woods can start to embrace green technology.

    The health studies are finally near completion but will the damage have been done?

    This just in (it follows trends out West): Fracking brought spikes in crime, road deaths and STDs (not to mention infrastructure damage)

    NY state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker
    said the examination had found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking.
    Holding up scientific studies to animate his arguments, Dr. Zucker listed concerns about water contamination and air pollution, and said there was insufficient scientific evidence to affirm the long-term safety of fracking.his review boiled down to a simple question: Would he want to live in a community that allowed fracking?
    He said the answer was no.
    “We cannot afford to make a mistake,” he said. “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.”

    By the way, it seems to be a house of cards financially on top of everything else.

  31. What has happened and is happening in PA with pipelines and marcellus wells is an atrocity. This will continue with no abatement with PA DEP in charge. Industry has run rampant over the citizens. Add to that, the conventional drilling and the hundreds of thousands of unplugged old wells leaking pollutants into waterways and methane into the air. Those who voted for Wolf must feel deceived. I am one of the “243 or 256” whose water supply was contaminated, both by drilling and tracking with no resolution for three years. The problems just continue to pile up due to the Corbett malfeasance. It appears with this announcement from Wolf there will be more of the same–coddling of industry and ignoring the families with contamination. How do I feel? Anger pretty much sums it up. Homes with water and air pollution have no value. Karen from NWPA

  32. The money it will cost the people of PA to replace their homes, roads, their health etc.. will out pace any money the PA Governor seems to think PA is benefitting from and then of course the whole world, paying the price for sped up warming because of the methane leeks. Cuomo has made the decision to keep the gas in the ground where it belongs until at least science can truly figure out a safe way to extract (which is not at all possible). Investments in renewables would go a long way to truly building a healthy (economically and also physical health) world!

  33. AlexFromNEPA-

    Wolf will have it worse than Cuomo because all the NY protesters are now freed up to come to PA and put their resources into the fight here. Also, due to the extensive fracking in PA, there are more local cases of suffering to bring to his attention. He can’t run from this.

    The problem for Wolf is that Corbett stuck the state with a HUGE budget hole and fracking extraction taxes are Wolf’s main source of new income for the state (estimated on the order of $300 million) to plug the hole partially. It’s still unclear whether or not the PA legislature will even grant him the extraction tax.

    If Wolf can’t get the extraction tax, he should ban fracking immediately, as he’d be getting no “benefit” from selling out the health of the people suffering from fracking.

    The state finances have been mismanaged for years and fracking taxes are an attractive short-term solution for the budget.

    The big problem is that PA is a very politically corrupt state and enough legislators are bought and paid for by the energy industry to ignore the suffering of rural Pennsylvanians to prop up industry profits.

  34. Moral corruptness seems to run rampant in our state. There is no compassion but only denial. Our PA DEP is more like the dept of environmental pimping., permitting harm by granting fracking permits. Permitting the releases of toxic chemicals through our aquifers and into the air next to our homes and schools, permitting the destruction of our public lands, and permitting the estimated 6 to 9 % fugitive methane emissions that will take us over the climate cliff. Is it ok to have an explosive and toxic heavy 24/7 industry as a neighbor? Is it ok not to give anyone a choice about it? Guess it’s ok with Wolf

  35. “Governor-elect Wolf’s priority is to ensure that Pennsylvania is an energy leader with all Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity.” Governor-elect Wolf’s priority is clearly to line the pockets of the oil and gas industry (as well as his own, I guess) at the expense of the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians and the PA environment. Wake up and smell the fracking fluid Tom!

  36. Wolf will learn quickly that he needs to stop fracking, pipelines, compressors, and gas plants. We’ll be at his inauguration and he’ll be getting the same treatment Cuomo got all these years. Everywhere he goes, he’ll hear from us. At the very least, we’ll be creating press secretary jobs.

  37. Governor elect Wolf, HVHF will never be safe or totally predictable except in the minds of those that profit from it’s affect on our environment and people .Profitable resources will never trump people’s health ,and quality of life which is ruined by the heavy industrial process being allowed next to people’s residences and communities.Time to become a real leader beyond corporate control.

  38. New York followed the science, which told them fracking is bad. You cannot make those chemicals non-toxic with more inspections. The mere need for a health study confirms there are issues that affect the public health. The head of the NY Department of Health stated clearly today that he would not put his kids by it. He’s a doctor. You are a politician. Do you see where I’m going with this? You have failed to visit the areas in PA where people are suffering and I’d put money on the fact that you will continue to avoid those that have been harmed and lost everything due to this process. We CANNOT and we WILL NOT be an energy leader as long as we allow this in our state. If you want to be a leader, then lead! But lead with the facts and not the lobbyist’s desires. We will continue to ask you to lead. In order to do so, you need to look at the facts and visit the areas that are harmed.

  39. The New York State Department of Health report on fracking is a careful 184 page document that reflects years of exhaustive study. Many of the deleterious effects of fracking documented in this report come from Pennsylvania. As a member of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, I trust that Governor-elect Wolf will review it carefully. When he does, he must come to the same conclusion as New York: Fracking needs to stop. Now. The health and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth must be his first priority. Our lives matter just as much as the lives of New Yorkers.

  40. Tom Wolf, you cannot seriously mean that. Do you understand how many people you’re throwing under the bus, how many families you are destroying, the futures you are ruining? I probably shouldn’t even ask your position on climate change as I heard you say coal was worth extracting at your inauguration.

    I hope you and your cabinet will keep an eye on because in about two weeks they will be publishing a series called Stories From The Shale: Pennsylvania, 8 testimonies of landowners whose land has been taken, whose livelihoods have been threatened, and whose lives have been changed forever.

    The economic prosperity of fracking is not as fulfilling as you might think. Take a drive through Dimock, PA, one of the most densely drilled areas of the Marcellus to see what I mean. Very few people are becoming rich off this. And many, including you, are in danger from this drilling and fracking activity if you allow this practice to continue. There is no excuse for the amount of damage we are seeing. Zero.

    This practice is intolerable and needs to stop. I will spend my life fighting fracking until it is banned and I will lay down my body on the frontlines to prevent its expansion when necessary. I had faith in you as a governor, but now I see I must’ve been mistaken.

    Until you ban this practice and related infrastructure, Pennsylvania is in danger. And we will stop you from destroying the state we love. Whatever it takes, we will. I promise.

  41. If you have to set up a health registry then you are admitting it isn’t safe. The science is in, fracking is dangerous. I’d love for PA to fund independent economic studies of the impact of unconventional gas drilling on other businesses and home prices. It would also be great to map the distribution of drilling wealth. We’ve only been hearing from industry on this front and there is plenty of evidence that they are skewing the numbers as much as they are trying to skew the science.

  42. Thalidomide, Asbestos, Lead paint and gasoline additives, and nicotine all were legally approved by Government. We all see in retrospect just how deadly those decisions were. Why should we repeat history with the chemicals and radiation released by fracking and expect safe results? Gov. Wolf must halt this activity NOW to allow for comprehensive studies! New York got it right!

  43. Pennsylvanians can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a state with reasonable, responsible politicians and policymakers who put people over profits. It’s clear that Governor-elect Wolf is determined keep it that way. By all means, sir, dig in your heels on fracking without taking the time to learn anything about it.

  44. Governor Cuomo and the New York State should be commended for their actions to protect the health of residents and the integrity of the environment. Governor-Elect Wolf should take this opportunity to protect us Pennsylvanians and the land and water that we, and future generations, rely on to live. There is no such thing as safe fracking.

  45. This statement of support for fracking can be translated as follows:

    It doesn’t matter how bad fracking is for the health of PA residents, and the environment. We’ve got a budget deficit and the revenue from fracking is more important than the suffering of people in rural areas.

Comments are closed.

  • Reader Poll: Have You Requested a Mail-In Ballot?

    • Yes. I enjoy mail-in voting. (50%)
    • No. I am going to the poll. (50%)

    Total Voters: 121

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen