By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett met a receptive audience from the oil and gas industry today at the Franklin Institute, while critics of Marcellus Shale drilling shouted from the sidewalk as he came and went.
Governor Corbett, keynote speaker at an oil-and-gas symposium being held at the Franklin Institute, says rabid opponents should keep in mind that natural gas development has reduced our dependency on foreign energy and has resulted in lower prices.
“The shale gas industry is helping to sustain more than 240,000 jobs in every corner of our state,” he said.
The governor says an advisory commission he appointed came back with 96 recommendations, more than half of which dealt with protecting the environment and public health. “Pennsylvania has the strongest, most effective, and most practical drilling regulations of any state in the nation,” he said.
Anti-fracking organizer Elizabeth Arnold was among the protesters outside the Franklin Institute. She says there has been an increase in the number of cases of water contamination and air pollution in rural areas because of the gas wells.
She also says pipelines are cutting up the landscape and breaking up eco-systems.
“This is not a form of energy that we need,” Arnold said today. “We need to be getting off fossil fuels and moving toward renewables.”
Meanwhile, members of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project were criticizing Corbett for resisting the move to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania under the new federal health care law.