Posts Tagged ‘money and politics’

On March 16, Katherine Watt wrote an oped in the CDT entitled “Raise a voice over shale drilling plan.” It was perhaps a bit more “rhetorically forceful” than I would have written it, but the CDT has printed little from its perspective.

On the 30th, Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), chairman of the state Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, wrote a response:

Natural gas is a cleaner, abundant fuel available right here in Pennsylvania. We cannot talk about reducing our reliance on foreign energy sources without committing to developing our own indigenous natural resources.

She then called CATA’s natural gas buses “a model for what the future in transportation may look like” and asserted that “Pennsylvania has some of the strictest well drilling, casing and construction standards in the nation.” HA!

In the comments section, Watt provided the real reason White repeats industry talking points as if they are facts.

Here’s Watt’s response, in the CDT comment section:

I’ll respond later to Senator White’s assertions above, but in the meantime, wanted to offer some financial context to her argument.

According to public campaign finance records (http://www.campaignfinance.state.pa.us/ReportSearch.aspx), Senator White ran virtually unopposed in the 2008 campaign in District 21. She had $44,834 on hand on May 12, 2008 (30 days post primary). By December 31, 2008, after the election, her campaign had a balance of $63,875.

During that campaign cycle alone, she accepted contributions of at least $32,500 from executives and political action committees at the following corporations (I stopped digging for information when the donations fell under $500, which was where Allegheny Energy’s contributions began showing up):

Rosebud Mining Co. (coal) – $5,000
Parkwood Resources (coal) – $5000
Consol Energy & CSX Gas – $2,000
Pennsylvania Coal PAC (coal) – $2,000
Pennsylvania Power & Light (utility) – $5,000
First Energy PAC (utility) – $3,000
Sunoco PAC (oil & gas) – $2,500
Alliance Coal – $1,000
Valier Mining (coal) – $1,000
Foundation Coal – $1,000
PBS Coals Inc. – $4,000
Amfire Mining (coal) – $1,000

As chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, she knows where her support lies, and it isn’t with the people drinking water contaminated by two centuries of permitted and “regulated” coal, oil and gas mining in Pennsylvania.

It’s information people need to know.


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