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Scarnati in Hot Water After Super Bowl Perks From Marcellus Company

By Christina Gongaware, Contributing Writer

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) is in hot water after a top aide disclosed that he enjoyed a free Super Bowl ticket, plane ride and hotel room compliments of Consol Energy Inc, one of the major companies driling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

Though technically permitted under Pennsylvania ethics rules, it’s not a great PR move for Scarnati. Consol has already contributed over $15,000 to his campaigns since 2006. Furthermore, Scarnati has accepted more than $117,000 from companies in the oil and gas industry. He has previously been pointed to as one of the key politicians who has blocked an extraction tax on shale drilling.

Scarnati defended his actions in a completely convincing tweet earlier today: “I will fully reimburse Consol for Super Bowl expenses. Was planning to from the start, but don’t have the paperwork yet.”

Although Mr. Scarnati’s chief of staff attempted to assure citizens that these perks would in no way influence his votes concerning the oil and drilling in the state, his choice to accept the trip seems questionable given the political controversy surrounding development of the Marcellus Shale.

Scarnati’s decision is particularly questionable when contrasted with Governor Tom Corbett’s Super Bowl trip. Corbett had the political and common sense to make clear that he would be using his own funds for the trip before the details came to light.

6 Responses

  1. PS: That would be “not subject to any federal environmental review.” DEP does not really count. Their job is to make the gas wells happen.

    And by the way, pulling up this Politics PA site subjects me immediately to a masthead advertisement by Range Resources. The gas boys are buying the whole state, piece by politician by website.

  2. He showed the same judgment here as he has exhibited on his decisions to let the natural gas drilling rush ahead unabated: an industry not subject to any environmental review; an industry operating without any serious scientific examination of its long-term cumulative impacts on water, human health, or livestock health; an industry exempted from federal scrutiny under the Clean Air and Clean Water acts (why, what is the industry hiding?). What sort of judgment was that – little to none. The man is for all practical purposes a paid employee of the gas industry lobby.

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