The Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission was a 30-member panel charged with recommending natural gas drilling policies to Governor Tom Corbett. When Corbett announced its formation on March 8, 2011, he said its goal is to, “oversee how we can build around this new industry and how we can make certain we do this while protecting our lands, our drinking water, our air, and our communities, all the while growing our workforce.”
Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley headed the commission, which also includes the heads of the Departments of Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and Transportation, as well as Corbett’s energy executive, Patrick Henderson. A third of the panel’s members represented drilling companies. Critics pointed to that ratio – as well as the fact a majority of members have contributed to Corbett’s campaigns – as proof the commission is stacked in the industry’s favor. Environmentalists and local government officials sat on the panel, as well.
The commission held monthly meetings in Harrisburg from March through July. Its members unanimously approved 96 policy recommendations for Governor Corbett and lawmakers on July 15. The final 137-page report was released on July 22.