2/14/2011 8:49 AM
[if Byline]By [byline][/if Byline]
Thought the Steelers losing the Superbowl gave you heartburn. Check out this report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to a report by the newspaper, Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, had his ticket, plane ride and hotel for the Feb. 6 game paid for by Marcellus Shale gas drilling company Consol Energy Inc.
The gift, according to the article, is perfectly legal. "Under Pennsylvania law, legislators are allowed to accept such tickets and travel as long as they report everything above a $650 annual threshold," the article states.
Scarnati's chief of staff, Drew Crompton, told the newspaper that the gift has had no effect on Scarnati's views of Marcellus Shale drilling in the state.
"Sen. Scarnati has taken positions that are adverse to shale companies, and nothing in his mind has changed,” he told the newspaper. “He does not toe the line of these companies. His independence speaks for itself.”
But in this political climate, where even cow manure is looked upon in a better light than either a Democrat or a Republican politician, why would any politician even risk putting their neck out there by accepting a gift like this.
The Patriot News' website, www.pennlive.com, was abuzz with comments on the story the morning after it appeared. Safe to say, the comments were pretty unflattering about Scarnati and the natural gas industry, which now enjoys a friendly atmosphere within the state legislature and governor's office.
"Consol Energy expanded its Marcellus presence last year with the $3.5 billion acquisition of the natural gas operations of Dominion Resources Inc., including 1.46 million acres of gas leases and 9,000 operating wells," the article state.
Given the fact that according to state records, "Consol executives and lobbyists have contributed more than $15,000 to Scarnati’s campaigns since 2006," doesn't the public have a right to be a little peeved? — Chris Torres