Pa. DEP Secretary Stepping Down

Washington PA Observer Reporter
22 March 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett’s often-controversial environmental protection secretary will leave the post next month after two years of guiding the agency that regulated Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom as he clashed with environmental advocates, federal regulators and Democratic lawmakers.

Michael Krancer, who was a state environmental law judge and lawyer for energy giant Exelon Corp. before joining the Republican governor’s administration, helped oversee Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission and handled emerging issues of river and air pollution as Pennsylvania worked to modernize its laws around drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The agency was in “good hands” under his leadership, Corbett said in a statement, and cited Krancer’s work to improve the way the Department of Environmental Protection operates. Krancer called working for Corbett and the department “the greatest honor of my career.”

Corbett said Krancer, 55, will return to private law practice with the Philadelphia-based firm, Blank Rome, on April 15.

Krancer leaves on the heels of the departure of two other Cabinet secretaries who had high-profile dust-ups.

He frequently accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of overstepping its boundaries when it came to regulating rapidly growing natural gas industry in Pennsylvania, and his exchanges with Democratic lawmakers during legislative hearings were sometimes hostile.

Environmental groups regularly accused him of siding with the natural gas industry, and the head of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has complained that Krancer’s agency was more concerned with politics than dealing with a decline in fish populations in the Susquehanna River.