Natural Gas NOW
John Quigley is Tom Wolf’s cub at DEP and he’s a particularly quarrelsome one who likes to bare his teeth and threaten the PA gas industry to get his way.
Some ten months ago, I wrote a post regarding the then recently confirmed (and now former) DEP Secretary John Quigley and the nature of the beast as reflected in his decision to impose an outrageous fine on Range Resources. Quigley was essentially fired last week and within literally hours that fine was lifted, confirming what we suspected,; that Quigley was using his office to take vengeance on the industry and do the bidding of his PennFuture (Heinz and Haas families) masters.
I wrote then “it was obvious John Quigley didn’t have the temperament to be Pennsylvania DEP Secretary,” that he had “conflicts of interest all over the place as part of the PennFuture triumvirate“ and it had become obvious why he was there. I also noted the fine imposed against Range Resources had been a display of a “good guy, bad guy act” with the “Governor seemingly exud[ing] a positive attitude and wear[ing] a perpetual smile,” while Quigley, the Wolf cub, bared his teeth and issued threats. I suggested the $8.9 million fine levied against Range Resources could “only be described as posturing for the sake of giving the PA gas industry a scare during an energy tax debate his pack leader is losing.”
The case for the Range Resources fine was pitiful, as Nicole Jacobs at Energy In Depth, who was also a neighbor of the project, so thoroughly demonstrated in her excellent article on the subject. It garnered big headlines for fractivists at the time, though, and got huge play in fractivist house organs such as StateImpactPa (also financed by the Heinz and Haas families) which gave Quigley, their brother-in-arms, a megaphone to attack the industry.
Range Resources, however, appealed to the Environmental Hearing Board and, also immediately following John Quigley’s resignation, DEP announced it had, earlier in the month, dropped its fine:
WILLIAMSPORT — A Texas natural gas driller no longer is facing a nearly $9 million civil penalty from the state Department of Environmental Protection for alleged violations at a well in eastern Lycoming County.
The DEP on May 6 notified Range Resources-Appalachia it no longer would pursue an $8.957 million fine for alleged violations related to the gas well on the property of Lewis Harman outside Hughesville.
Range then withdrew the appeal before the Environmental Hearing Board and that board Monday formally dismissed it.
Attempts Saturday to learn why DEP decided not to pursue the civil penalty were unsuccessful.
Readers can draw their own conclusions but it seems clear this fine was purely a John Quigley maneuver; an exercise in vindictiveness on behalf of Tom Wolf and of which their was no factual support. Is it possible Wolf learned something? That remains to be seen but, for the moment, the Wolf cub has been thrown out and the door of the den has slammed shut behind him. The only question is how StateImpactPA will explain this one. They’ll get the usual quotes from their allies at the Clean Air Council and Delaware Povertykeeper, of course, but how to turn what is a stunning defeat for their team into victory will surely be a challenge.