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Adam Garber,
PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment endorses 40 candidates for General Assembly

Picks based on Marcellus Shale gas drilling and Act 13
For Immediate Release

[Philadelphia, PA] – With the controversy over Marcellus Shale gas drilling driving up voter interest in environmental issues this election cycle, the statewide group PennEnvironment today announced its endorsements of 40 state House and Senate candidates.

“This year, too many state lawmakers voted with the drillers and the polluters over the health of our families and our environment,” noted David Masur, PennEnvironment director. “We’re making it clear to Pennsylvania voters which candidates stand with the polluters, and which candidates stand for clean air, clean water and healthy communities.”

Explosions, accidents, spills and violations related to gas drilling across the Commonwealth have made headlines statewide and nationally, making terms such as “fracking” and “Marcellus Shale” part of dinner-table conversation for many Pennsylvanians. 

Yet as the public has grown increasingly concerned about gas drilling in the state, Gov. Tom Corbett and his allies in Harrisburg have bent over backwards to cater to the industry through a series of policy debates over how to regulate drilling practices.

For example, new legislation was originally designed to ensure that gas companies pay their fair share for the negative impacts of drilling on the environment and communities. However, guided by the governor, his allies and industry lobbyists, the final law (known as Act 13) became a 200-page bill that stripped local communities’ ability to regulate drilling within their borders; removed or weakened environmental protections; and even left doctors and medical experts vulnerable to legal action if they counseled patients about the negative impacts that gas drilling could be having on their health.

In response, and based on careful research and consideration of the candidates’ voting records and positions, PennEnvironment announced its endorsements for challengers and the open state Senate races:

  • Matt Smith for the open PA-37 seat (Pittsburgh-area);
  • Sean Wiley for the open PA-49 seat (Erie);
  • Rob Teplitz for the open PA-15 seat (Harrisburg area);
  • Challenger Kimberly Villella for the PA-47th seat (Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties);

PennEnvironment also announced its state senate endorsements for the following incumbents:

  • Sen. Andy Dinniman for the 19th District (parts of Chester and Montgomery counties);
  • Sen. Larry Farnese for the 1st District (Philadelphia);
  • Sen. Shirley Kitchen  for the 3rd District (Philadelphia);
  • Sen. Daylin Leach for the 17th District (parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties);
  • Sen. Mike Stack for the 5th District (Philadelphia);
  • Sen. Judy Schwank for the 11sth District (Berks County);

At the same time, PennEnvironment announced its endorsements of the following state House incumbents:

  • Rep. Brendan Boyle for the 170th District (Philadelphia);
  • Rep. Matt Bradford for the 70th District (Montgomery County):
  • Rep. Tim Briggs for the 149th District (Montgomery County);
  • Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown for the 189th District (Philadelphia);
  • Rep. Margo Davidson for the 164th District (Delaware County);
  • Rep. Pam Delissio for the 194th District (Philadelphia);
  • Rep. Eugene DePasquale for the 95th District (York);
  • Rep. Frank Dermody for the 33rd District (Allegheny County);
  • Rep. Dan Frankel for the 23rd District (Pittsburgh);
  • Rep. Bob Freeman for the 136th District (Easton);
  • Rep. Pat Harkins for the 1st District (Erie);
  • Rep. Elect Steve McCarter (Montgomery County)
  • Rep. Mike McGeehan for the 173rd District (Philadelphia);
  • Rick Mirabito for the 83rd District (Williamsport);
  • Rep. Phyllis Mundy for the 120th District (Pittston);
  • Rep. Steve Samuelson for the 135th District (Bethlehem);
  • Rep. Steve Santarsiero for the 31st District (Bucks County);
  • Rep. Elect Brian Simms for 182nd District (Philadelphia);
  • Rep. Mike Sturla for the 96th District (Lancaster):
  • Rep. Greg Vitali for the 166th District (Haverford);

PennEnvironment announced its endorsements of challengers in state House races:

  • Bret Binder for the 156th District (Chester County);
  • Ryan Bizzarro for the 3rd District (Erie);
  • Sheamus Bonner for the 163rd District (Delaware County);
  • Kevin Deely for the 131st District (Lehigh Valley);
  • Larry DeMarco for the 161st District (Delaware County);
  • Paul Drucker for the 157th District (Chester and Montgomery counties);
  • Liz Forrest for the 189th District (Monroe County);
  • David Levdansky for the 39th District (Allegheny County);
  • Eric Schott for the 13th District (Chester County);
  • Will Sylianteng for the 151st District (Bucks and Montgomery counties);

PennEnvironment also announced its endorsements for statewide race, including Kathleen Kane for Attorney General and Eugene DePasquale for Auditor General.

“Pennsylvanians who are concerned about Marcellus Shale gas drilling need to remember which politicians in Harrisburg voted to give gas drilling companies a virtual free pass to put our air, water and health at risk—and which legislators stood up for ordinary Pennsylvanians and our environment,” stated Masur.

PennEnvironment is informing its members and the general public about the candidates’ positions and views and is urging voters to support their endorsed candidates on the November ballot.

Information about PennEnvironment’s endorsements for federal races can be found on the organization’s website at www.PennEnvironment.org/2012endorsements.