Natural Gas NOW
Rep. Jon Fritz is taking landowner rights seriously in his new role as a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He’s demanding accountability.
Pennsylvania Representative Jon Fritz (Susquehanna and Wayne Counties) is now a member of the House Appropriations Committee. This puts him in the position of being able to question members of the Wolf Administration and other elected officials. Suffice it to say he’s doing a darned good job of it. He’s standing up for landowner rights.
YouTube videos of Jon Fritz doing the questioning many of us would like to do are now available. Here he is, for example, putting some tough questions to Pennsylvania’s self-impressed Attorney General and wannabe future governor, Josh Shapiro. Watch how it went:
If your anything like me, you’ll find Shapiro’s cocky, condescending manner absolutely infuriating, especially when you realize this is a guy who sues the totally selfless Little Sisters of the Poor for fun. He’s no friend of natural gas either. And, he obviously didn’t like Jon Fritz asking about his play for Bloomberg dollars to put non-profit special interests to work inside his supposedly unbiased offices.
Shapiro tried to dismiss Jon Fritz by suggesting the Representative didn’t know the facts; that he had ultimately rejected Bloomberg’s dollars but that, of course, was only after the whole thing had come to embarrassing light. Prior to that, as we noted here, he had eagerly sought the special interest dollars with this appeal made in his name:
Pennsylvania is a large, industrial state with a long history of fossil fuel production. It is in a unique position among such states because it is pursuing a progressive environmental policy agenda…
This “Pennsylvania perspective” provides a unique and powerful platform from which to create progressive environmental legal and policy change – from within. Put otherwise, while many states can and do fight for progressive environmental legal change, when that fighter is a coal-burning, Marcellus Shale gas extracting, ozone-suffering state where environmental action may not always be politically palatable, the impact of an environmental leader like Attorney General Josh Shapiro is simply more powerful.
No wonder the guy was so testy. Arrogance like that doesn’t handle challenges well.
Fritz also questioned Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, although the latter is a lot a model of civility compared to Shapiro:
Pay close attention to how this questioning evolved as McDonnell truthfully responded as to how natural gas development had helped the Commonwealth meet its Clean Power Plan goals early and power lots of electric cars. Fritz then asks McDonnell if it’s safe and he answers “yes,” of course, at which point the good Representative poses the obvious query. He asks if it can done safely in the Delaware River Basin, at which point McDonnell politely obfuscates and fumbles around, not really answering. It speaks volumes about the untenable position the Governor has taken on a DRBC fracking ban.
We’ll have two more sets of questions tomorrow, but the Shapiro and McDonnell testimonies reveal something crucial important; that the protection of landowner rights, natural rights if you will, demands unwavering advocacy. Individuals such as Josh Shapiro, succored on the notion of their own indispensability, require challenging by someone who refuses to be intimidated. Individuals such as Patrick McDonnell simply have to be led to tell the truth. It is to the credit of Jon Fritz that he was able to do both, forcing the truth out into the open.
Tomorrow: the State Treasurer and the Auditor General!