The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 20, 2013

Gas industry bet big on GOP

Lost state AG race despite cash

SHARON — In the weeks leading up to the November election, gas company political action committees, industry executives and representatives of businesses serving the burgeoning drilling industry in Pennsylvania poured more than $180,000 in the campaign coffers of the Republican candidate for attorney general.

It was not the industry’s first venture into spending heavily in a campaign.

Watchdog groups claim that over the years the industry has expanded its footprint in Pennsylvania, drilling companies have spent millions of dollars on campaign donations.

Gas money went to a number of politicians who won election and then proceeded to set policy that has been friendly to the gas industry. Headlining that group is the governor Tom Corbett, who steadfastly refused to agree to any policy that would tax the gas drilling industry, opting only to support the addition of impact fees.

But in the attorney general’s race, the gas money didn’t help.

Voters elected Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the first Democrat to ever win election as attorney general in Pennsylvania. And Kane, as a candidate had promised to fight for more money to devote enforcement of environmental law to monitor the gas industry in Pennsylvania.

Kane won 56 percent of the vote.

“It makes sense that the gas companies would be spending their money on (Freed),” said Joshua McNeil, executive director of the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. “That’s why we endorsed Kathleen Kane. She promised to beef up enforcement of the natural gas industry.”

A spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the leading gas industry lobbying group in Pennsylvania, said the organization cannot make political contributions and the organization would not try to explain why some of the gas companies that are part of the coalition would have supported one candidate or another. One-third of the companies represented on the coalition’s board of directors donated to the campaign of Republican attorney general David Freed.  

A spokesman for Chesapeake Energy said that the gas companies' PACs are merely trying to help candidates that will support the responsible growth of the industry.

"Chesapeake’s federal and state political action committees seek to identify well-informed, principled leaders on matters of domestic energy policy and support their efforts to promote a strong, clean energy agenda with an emphasis on natural gas," said company spokesman Matt Sheppard.

Chesapeake gave $10,000 to the Freed campaign.

It was not just big gas companies that were putting the money in the race. Donors included a number of businesses that have been identified by the Corbett Administration as businesses that have thrived thanks to their success developing relationships with the gas industry.

Text Only
Local News
  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014