Inside the Halls of Government, Gas Industry Makes its Pitch
Greg Vitali has been a state representative for more than 20 years. He saw the rise of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania mainly through the lens of the state Capitol. About five or six years ago, he says, lobbyists for the industry began showing up. And they’ve never left.
“Drillers have this constant presence in Harrisburg You go to any committee meeting, related to drilling, you see representatives from American Petroleum Institute, you see lobbyists from Range Resources,” Vitali says. “They’re just always here.”
The oil and gas industry has spent heavily on campaign donations and lobbying in Pennsylvania since the state’s natural gas boom began. An investigation by the Allegheny Front and 90.5 WESA found the industry spent $34 million on lobbying since 2007. This concerns Vitali, a suburban Philadelphia Democrat and frequent critic of the drilling industry. Vitali thinks all this lobbying has weighted the way the legislature approaches gas drilling.
Read more of this special report at the website of our partner The Allegheny Front. This is the last in a four-part series examining the influence of industry money on Pennsylvania's oversight of the natural gas boom.