Green Party of PA condemns D.E.P. Secretary’s statements; calls for his resignation

Last week, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection said that drilling for natural gas would do environmental harm, but it would be worth it for the money and jobs it would bring to Pennsylvania, among other reasons.  “You can’t do a large amount of drilling and have zero impact,” said Secretary John Hanger.  “There’s going to be a lot of good that comes from drilling in Pennsylvania, but there are also going to be some problems.”  For more information, you can read this article.

The Green Party of Pennsylvania issued a response today, condemning the Secretary’s remarks and actions, and called for his resignation.  According to the Green Party, he is not doing his job:

The Green Party of Pennsylvania denounces the statements of acting PA
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and called for
him to resign. Last week, Mr. Hanger said the economic benefits of drilling
for gas in the Marcellus Shale were worth the “inevitable” environmental
damage, including poisoning of some residents’ water sources.
According to Reuters, “He acknowledged that some of the chemicals could be
dangerous to human health but said that risk has to be weighed against the
benefits that will come from the exploitation of what he called the
‘enormous’ gas reserves contained in the Marcellus Shale.”
(  The
same article mentioned that there are reports that the northeast PA town of
Dimock has contaminated well water resulting from the “fracking” process
used in gas drilling.
“John Hanger should hand in his resignation.  He is not protecting our
water,” said Jay Sweeney Green Party Wyoming County.  “I attended a meeting
a few weeks ago about this.  Dimock residents were very upset that they are
not getting results from DEP or their State Representative,” Sweeney
concluded.  “He is overemphasizing the benefits of drilling for gas and is
willing to trade long term water contamination for a short term increase in
the supply of natural gas in a time of diminishing water supplies
Green Party of Erie County Chairperson Tim Reim agreed. Reim said, “No more
compromise with corporate polluters and their DEP apologists like John
Hanger. His tenure with PennFuture was marked by the ‘greenwashing’ of
corporation after corporation, all in the name of supposedly environmentally
friendly actions that in effect left Pennsylvanians with a degraded
environment and the polluting corporations with a fatter bottom line. John
Hanger can be counted on to do one thing only, and that is what his
corporate masters tell him to do. Hey, he needs a job after this DEP gig –
where do you think he’s going to work next?”
As head of the DEP and the top environmental official of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania Mr. Hanger should be the strongest protector of the clean air
and clean water to which the Pennsylvania Constitution states all
Pennsylvanians have a right. He should be serving the interests of all
Pennsylvanians. DEP’s mission is to, “protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and
water from pollution and provide for the health and safety of its citizens
through a cleaner environment, working as partners with individuals,
organizations, governments and business to prevent pollution and restore
natural resources.”  His stated willingness to sacrifice the rights of some
Pennsylvanians to clean water from their own wells and their health at risk
so that the natural gas industry can profit privately, in contradiction of
the DEP mission, violates and shames his office. He should resign.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania renews its call for the prohibition of the
hydrofracturing or “fracking” process, a severance tax on all mineral
extraction in Pennsylvania, a ban on drilling on public lands without the
consent of the residents of the commonwealth, and implementation of a
program of conservation, efficiency and true clean energy technologies,
issued in an October 2008 statement…


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