Democratic candidate for attorney general Josh Shapiro is taking a hard line on gas drillers in a TV ad that began airing more than a week ago.
“In the last eight years, the fracking industry has spent over $40 million dollars on lobbying in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro says in the ad, referring to a 2014 report by the watchdog group Common Cause Pennsylvania. The report found the industry spent nearly $50 million lobbying state lawmakers and donating to political candidates between 2007 and 2014.
“So it’s no surprise that even though they’ve had over 4,000 violations, all they’ve gotten is just a slap on the wrist,” Shapiro continues.
Under Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, the office brought criminal charges against XTO Energy in 2013 for a wastewater spill in Lycoming County. Then, in 2014, her office filed a criminal complaint against EQT Corp. on behalf of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for an impoundment leak in Tioga County. Last year, the office filed suit against Chesapeake Energy, seeking millions of dollars for Pennsylvanians who accused the company of cheating them out of royalties.
Speaking on WHYY’s Radio Times, Shapiro said the state Attorney General’s office has filed criminal charges against two gas companies, despite thousands of documented violations.
“I am going to beef up the environmental crimes division within the A.G.’s office and the public protection division and go after the frackers,” he said.
Shapiro, a Montgomery County Commissioner, also wants to step up coordination between the A.G.’s office and state environmental regulators.