John Hanger, who just departed with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell as his Secretary of Environmental Protection, recently gave an exit interview to the anti-natural gas, Herb & Marion Sandler-fueled ProPublica. Previously Hanger was president of the environmental activist group Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), and both he and the group have repeatedly called for increased taxes on natural gas companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale region (which takes up just about the whole state). PennFuture has also perpetuated the lies in the Oscar-nominated crockumentary "Gasland," with the biggie being the one that blames hydraulic fracturing for water contamination.
Hanger -- who said "Gasland" was "fundamentally dishonest" and "a deliberately false presentation for dramatic effect"-- diverged from PennFuture on the issue of fracking in his ProPublica interview:
ProPublica: Do you think gas drilling with high-volume hydraulic fracturing, as it's being practiced now in Pennsylvania, is safe?
Hanger: Yes, it's safe in this respect. Is the risk zero? No. But is it as safe as mining and producing and burning coal? It's actually much safer... Is it as safe or safer than drilling, producing and burning oil? It is actually much safer... None of our risks in energy production are zero.
And believe it or not, Hanger opposes federal intervention:
ProPublica: Should the federal government regulate fracking?
Hanger: I laugh when people ask that question because, basically, if the BP oil spill showed anything, it's that you can't rely on the federal government to regulate the oil and gas industry. The Minerals Management Service was completely captured by the industry. There's no guarantee that doesn't happen at the state level either, but I think local people have much more ability to impact their governor. They pick their governor, they elect their state legislature. I think generally it's better to have these questions decided close to home. It's Pennsylvania's water, it's Pennsylvania's air, it's Pennsylvania's land.
Meanwhile environoiacs and their allies in EPA and the Dept. of Interior are doing everything they can to put access to gas and oil shale off limits to exploration and extraction. They're trying to screw up our boom.