Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday nominated the state Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell to serve permanently in the role.
His nomination, which must be approved by the state Senate, comes about four months after former Secretary John Quigley abruptly resigned the position (see Shale Daily, May 23).
Quigley stepped down after he reportedly sent a questionable email to environmental advocacy groups, expressing frustration with delays in implementing an overhaul of regulations for the oil and gas industry and urging them to step up the pressure on lawmakers and state officials to get them enacted. McDonnell had been the DEP director of policy overseeing regulatory development.
"In his acting capacity and throughout his career, Patrick has been a dedicated steward of the environment and a leader in advancing Pennsylvania's energy development in a responsible way," Wolf said in announcing the nomination. "I trust Patrick to lead the DEP in a way that protects our commonwealth's land, water and air and ensures the department continues to make progress in the areas of innovation, responsible development and working with legislators, industry and advocates in a collaborative and productive way."
If McDonnell's appointment is approved, he would take the helm of an agency that is expected to soon implement a comprehensive package of new environmental rules for the state's shale drillers (see Shale Daily, Aug. 15). At the time he was appointed acting secretary, industry sources with a knowledge of his work said McDonnell is reasonable and objective.