John Hanger formally declared his candidacy for Governor yesterday. The former DEP Secretary under Ed Rendell, he is the first of many Democrats ready and willing to challenge Gov. Gasbag. One issue the two men have in common is support for natural gas drilling. Hanger, however, believes in regulation and the taxation on the extraction of the people’s assets.
In the final year of Gov. Rendell’s Administration the DEP budget was slashed by about 27%. This was at the same time as an explosion in the state’s hydrofracturing operations. DEP has always served corporate interests over the people and nothing Mr. Hanger did as Department of Environmental Protection changed that reality.
He has argued for a middle road in the fracking controversy. The reality is that as much as we fear what fracking will do to Penn’s Woods it is here to stay simply because there’s too much money in it. Our primary focus must be on strict regulation, harsh fines for pollution and a healthy extraction tax to repay Pennsylvanians for the loss of our natural resources. Hanger seems to support those aims.