Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Wolf on Wednesday selected a pair of state government veterans to lead two key departments with a primary role in regulating natural gas development in the state.
John Quigley, 55, was named secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), tasked with regulating the oil and gas industry’s operations in the state. Cindy Dunn, 56, was tapped as secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which oversees 700,000 acres of state forest open for natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale.
Quigley previously served as DCNR secretary from 2009-2011 under former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. Dunn has been president of PennFuture since November 2013, an environmental advocacy group that has been critical of the state’s oil and gas industry. Before PennFuture, Dunn served under Rendell as DCNR’s secretary of conservation and technical service.
“We look forward to collaborating with her in her new role since we know that DCNR will continue to be in the spotlight when it comes to vital issues including energy development on public lands and its role as steward of our parks and forests,” PennFuture Chairman David Lane said.
Wolf, a Democrat, campaigned to reform the state’s oil and gas industry, particularly through a proposal to enact a 5% severance tax on production. He said he expected Quigley and Dunn to help better protect the environment and make natural gas development in the state more transparent.
Quigley pledged to find the right balance between economic growth, benefits of the shale boom and environmental protection, while Dunn said strategic investments can be made in the state’s natural resources to benefit its economy and environment.
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