A closer look at those in power who are friendly to the fracking industry (Part 2 of 3)
Facebook isn’t just a social network it’s a great way to tell stories. When our friends over at the Huffington Post posted our fracking Facebook post, it didn’t just serve as a social commentary on the connection between the gas industry and those regulating it, it showed that there are some big names connected to the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
Today, we take a closer look at former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge who has never been bashful about his pride within the industry. Ridge is perhaps best known for his admirable service to this country in the years after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Now he has become known for what many are calling shameless support for the hydraulic fracturing process.
Ridge currently makes a reported $75,000 per month working for a Washington, DC based lobbying firm. However, here is where things get a bit complicated for Ridge who refuses to acknowledge that he is a lobbyist for the gas industry. Despite the fact he is paid to influence policy makers with pro-fracking rhetoric, Ridge won’t say the “L” word.
When grilled on the Colbert Report (video below) Ridge wouldn’t say it. But that’s okay, he doesn’t have to say that he is a lobbyist because he has already filed the paperwork to become one. The paperwork shows that Ridge filed to be a lobbyist in August of 2010. At almost the exact time Ridge filled out his lobbyist paperwork, the Marcellus Shale Commission, a Pennsylvania oversight committee tasked with regulating hydraulic fracturing, hired Ridge as an “advisor.” Following Ridge’s statements on the Colbert Report, the Checks and Balances Project emailed Ridge’s secretary for an explanation about his definition of lobbying. To this date, Ridge nor his office has responded.
Ridge is not the only member of the commission with direct ties to the industry. Many of the members of the commission are representatives of the gas industry. Earlier this year, the Checks and Balances Project reported on blatant underhanded influence over the commission on behalf of the industry. A concerned citizen even caught the Lieutenant Governor’s assistant on camera as he lied about how the way members of the public were allowed to address the commission.
Now, Ridge is amongst friends as a member of the Marcellus Shale Commission. Ridge gets to wear two hats there: part regulator and part lobbyist – he just won’t admit the latter.
Read Part 1 (of 3): John Hickenlooper