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John Quigley’s Email Shocks the Conscience

delaware riverkeeper - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


We knew, of course, it had to be bad, but the e-mail sent by John Quigley to his fractivist allies in the “environmental community” shocks the conscience.

The e-mail that got DEP Secretary John Quigley fired is now out and it’s far worse than anything I had imagined. This man-child had no business being in position of authority on the smallest board in the tiniest community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, let alone serving as the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. He not only lacked the temperament for such a role, but also demonstrated a complete lack of judgment. His actions were appalling for someone with his level of responsibility and “shock the conscience.”

A 1937 Supreme Court case established a “shocks the conscience” legal standard, defining it as something that offends “those canons of decency and fairness which express the notions of justice of English-speaking peoples.” What John Quigley did is hardly likely to end up in court, but his e-mail certainly offends the canons of fairness and decency. That much is evident by anyone’s reading of the thing:

QuigleyThe only aspect of this e-mail that doesn’t shock the conscience is Quigley’s rhetorical question to his friends about whether their “moratorium hobby horse” does anything to advance the cause of protecting the environment. It obviously doesn’t and one can sense his frustration, but whose friends are they? Their goal has been to directly challenge the system, while John Quigley has simply preferred subterfuge. 

We don’t learn exactly who those friends are, of course, as someone helpfully redacted their names, but we can imagine who might be on the distribution list and given that the Haas and Heinz families fund all of the likely suspects along with his own previous employer, PennFuture, it’s not hard to narrow the possibilities with educated guesses. Regardless, Quigley knows his audience and his vulgar language dealing with them speaks volumes about the nature of fractivists; there’s not much decency there.

Fully appreciating the unfairness and vulgarity of the e-mail, though, isn’t possible without understanding the background – what happened on April 12th, the day before the man-child “slept on it.” The House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees voted that day to disapprove the proposed new Chapter 78/78a oil and gas regulations. The vote was 19 – 7 in the House committee and 9 – 2 in the Senate committee.

Legislators in both the House and Senate, in other words, expressed dissatisfaction with the rule making process. Moreover, they said it violated the Regulatory Review Act and ignored Act 126 of 2014, which specifically required the Environmental Quality Board to separately treat conventional and unconventional regulations. Most importantly, the motion to disapprove on the Senate committee was made by Chairman Gene Yaw (R – Lycoming) and seconded by Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne), displaying  bipartisan dissatisfaction with the process.

The humorless Quigley was infuriated and later the next night sent out his now infamous OMG e-mail, calling the committee meetings “Russian show trials.” It’s not hard to appreciate what Governor Wolf thought upon seeing his DEP Secretary had effectively accused members of his own party of being Stalinists – members who actually supported his ill-advised severance tax. Wolf knew he was getting a true believer when he appointed Quigley, of course, but surely he didn’t expect this level of stupidity.

What made it even worse is that Quigley gave away the game. Democrats who don’t follow the company line on fracking as laid out by Wolf and Quigley are to be considered “apostates” and Republicans are to be “shamed” as gas shills. Not much decency in these comments either although there is an element of fairness in that he attacks leaders from both parties for daring to oppose his bulling ahead with ill-considered regulations. The “apostasy” comment serves also to illustrate just how much of a true believer Quigley is and why he never should have been confirmed. Environmentalism isn’t just a cause with him; it’s a religion and apostasy must be punished. So it is with all of fractivism. The cause comes before everything else. Nothing else matters, even if means self-destruction as it did in this instance.

There was also a victim pathology at work as Quigley bizarrely suggested fractivists weren’t in the news cycle, were providing no pushback and were “without influence.” Has there ever been a case of a man in more deep denial? His pals at StateImpactPA have served as a virtual cheering section for more regulation of the industry and every utterance by every environmental and fractivist group out there has routinely gotten wall-to-wall coverage in every major media outlet. The Delaware Povertykeeper gets quoted more often than Shakespeare, her funders being the same gentry class folks who fund StateImpactPA and serve on the board of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Equally troubling has been the way this same media has, at least until this atrocious e-mail was released, made excuses for Quigley, covered for him and advocated on his behalf. The evidence, if you needed any more, is to be found in some Tweets from PennLive reporters pretending to be journalists. Here’s one from Christian Alexandersen. a “reporter” for The Patriot-News/PennLive. Did he read the e-mail before writing this? Yes, this earlier Tweet where he acknowledged Quigley had to go after that indicates he had. Yet, this “journalist” supposes this is just “spunk”?


What would he think if a Secretary of the Department of Economic and Community Development had sent a similarly vulgar e-mail to gas companies viciously berating them for not supporting efforts to streamline oil and gas regulations in the interest of economic development. Would Cristian think that was “spunky,” as he called Quigley’s? Hardly.

Then, there’s this one from Nick Malawskey, who says he’s an “Irreverent writer of stories and code” at PennLive:


He, too, had read the e-mail before posting the one above and he supposes attacking legislators, calling their committee meetings Russian show trials and screaming obscenities in print is the way to do business in government. It should, in fact, earn you a medal, according to this self-indulgent activist playing a reporter in real life.

And, here is an official PennLive Tweet from former PennFuture CEO Jan Jarrett pushing out her revolting over-the-top defense of Quigley. Jan, self-described as “a veteran environmental activist and former head of PennFuture,” also now works for PennLive and provides a glimpse into how the tech chamber created by the Heinz and Haas family works, with a revolving door between activist groups, government and the media, all pushing out the same agenda.


Railroaded? Read the Quigley e-mail again and tell me exactly how it is that a guy caught attempting to orchestrate a political campaign from his seat in government where he’s supposed to be impartially administering the law, using the foulest of language and labeling the legislators to whom he’s responsible as “apostates” and “shills’ has been “railroaded.” What a joke. Be sure to read Jarrett’s full op-ed if you can get through it without throwing up. Keep a copy of the Quigley e-mail handy as you do so and see if you can detect anything remotely suggesting Jarrett is living in the real world. Here’s perhaps the worst part of it:

Quigley is smart, courageous, forthright, fair and pragmatic. He adheres to no straitjacket ideology, and makes decisions based on facts.

He is a skilled administrator committed to serving the interests of the public. He makes himself accessible and understands that transparency in the workings of government is the best way to combat public cynicism and build public trust. He is, in short, an excellent public servant.

No, Jan, a guy who writes such an e-mail is neither smart nor courageous. He’s so wedded to ideology he can’t think straight. And, no, he’s not fair or “transparent in the workings of government” unless you consider angry late-night secret e-mails to one side of the debate normal behavior.

What Jan wants, of course, is an advocate from her side running DEP with no apologies, as if she’d not scream bloody murder if anyone from our side tried it, which brings us to the real point. It’s all about the power for them. They have no regard for law or procedure, not even the faintest appreciation for fairness except as a word to beat others up with when the chips are down. John Quigley wasn’t fair in any sense of the word. He was a true believer who saw his time in power as an opportunity to advance a particular ideology.

Just like Jan Jarrett, John Quigley was still working for PennFuture, for the Heinz and Haas families; pushing, pushing and pushing some more and finally he pushed himself out in a fit of rage over the failure of others to roll over for his/their agenda. He did us all a favor in doing so and his shocking e-mail has, at the same time, helped reveal the rotten core of the fractivist movement and elitist politics. This man had no business running DEP. None of them do.

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16 thoughts on “John Quigley’s Email Shocks the Conscience

  1. Very frightening that he got to the position he did……..and much more frightening are the defenders who have the power of the pen.

  2. Interesting that he used the four letter f word and not the five letter one instead. Ya know frack? It’s also interesting that he mentions a “moratorium” as if the real interest isn’t on a complete ban and end to all natural gas production in PA via fracking. People wave signs saying ban fracking and have for years. Also interesting to me is the acknowledgement that “inserting” oneself into the news cycle is where it’s at and I assume the d is for DEMOCRAT as generally it is Democrats who are targeted when it comes to fracking and natural gas by activist groups. It is the Democrats who are supposed to represent the people, their health and the environment and of course be antifracking and natural gas. See the films called dear governor Cuomo, brown and now president Obama for example. The Republicans are just industry shills and people to be replaced hopefully in the next election cycle of course.

    What elected officials for example championed the antifracking and natural gas movement in NY? Democrats and progressives right?

  3. http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Peekskill-Pipeline-Protesters-Arrested/

    Speaking of inserting oneself into the news cycle I read this about sane energy ahem I mean resist aim and some pipeline protestors getting arrested. Interestingly I have been reading about some of the people I saw in pictures of the protest taken by Erik McGregor in the news cycle for oh let’s see the last several years. Whether perhaps pretending to be park users and gardeners in Brooklyn or Rockaway residents or down at ferc shutting it down I am continually amazed at how much news I have seen kim Fraczek or Patrick Robbins or Clare Donahue in over the last few years.

    Inserting oneself into federal dockets and all kinds of hearings is also a popular tactic i hear it comes to the antifracking natural gas pipeline resistance.

  4. i’m not religious, but to use a common metaphor you PA residents should get down on your knees and give thanks that you at least have checks and balances in your state govt.

    in NY, there are none. it’s the immensely corrupt NYC agenda 24/7.

  5. Here are some of the same people also in the news via the indypendent. The article is written by a “reporter” who is actually friends with and a fellow activist of the “sources” used in the article, kim Fraczek and Patrick Robbins who it seems the nytimes also uses as sources on natural gas pipelines! Unsurprisingly the antifracking reporter calls the port Ambrose LNG import project which was vetoed not so long ago an export project! Crackerjack reporter!


    By the way a Fracked gas pipeline expansion was recently entered into prefile with ferc that appears to be an alternative to the port Ambrose LNG import project and while this proposal has been in Pennsylvania news it has yet to make news in new York state or city. Should be fascinating following that pipeline proposal since there is a list of NYC council members and ny state Democrats who oppose the Fracked gas.

  6. Almost as honest as Ex DEP Sec Hess who when asked how decisions were made regarding allocation of Millions of dollars in Growing Greener grants, answered–there are 9 votes and I get to vote 5 times.. Erie County then received $35,000 in GG money for inovative Lawn Care.

  7. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-seeks-wall-irish-golf-threatened-rising-seas-article-1.2647423

    Speaking of dominating news cycles and politics the Republican choice for the next president of the country appears to be as averse to facts as the indypendent and the antifracking natural gas pipeline resistance movement. It seems mr Trump may accept the climate science when it comes to his golf course but not when it comes to attempting to get the global warming is a hoax crowd and coal folks to vote for him. That is if the news is actually accurate!

  8. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/freeze-pipeline-project-indian-point-schumer-gillibrand-article-1.2645250j

    Speaking of interjecting oneself into the news cycle two NY Democrats, schumer and gillibrand, made news via an interesting press release that schumer released on the spectra aim pipe. It’s a very curious press release and interesting couple of sentences in the daily news. Apparently there are health, environmental and quality of life issues which were not part of the ferc and DEC reviews and all the other state reviews or permits for the spectra aim project which a connecticut paper said is about 60 percent completed on? Isn’t that curious and maybe something a reporter would look into rather than just cut and paste some sentences from a press release?

    What’s up with this NY state independent study on a very limited scope of things relating to this permitted project? Didn’t the nytimes and other report on some letter to ferc about this urgent analysis? What’s the result thus far?

  9. http://patch.com/new-york/peekskill/pipeline-foes-stage-protest-rally-0

    Hold on the patch also has some coverage of some pipeline foes and oddly I almost want to say these are the coalition against the Rockaway pipeline folks. I mean spectra nynj pipeline foes. I mean Constitution pipeline foes. I mean port Ambrose the secret conspiratorial LNG export project foes. Super interesting!

    I imagine spectra aim like so many natural gas pipelines just received this rubber stamp approval from ferc like so many others as the folks in the patch and other news make it sound like the project received no environmental assessment at all.

    The news on pipeline projects is fascinating and it gets more fascinating after approval and construction !

  10. Pingback: PennFuture Pilfers Pennsylvania Taxpayers

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