One of the state’s largest environmental groups will now be run by a former regional chief from the Department of Environmental Protection. PennFuture announced Monday that George Jugovic, Jr., will take over as president and CEO of the organization. Jugovic was the southwest regional director for the DEP in Pittsburgh, serving under former Governor Ed Rendell. Jugovic left after the election of Republican Governor Tom Corbett.
Jugovic will replace Jan Jarrett, who served as PennFuture’s president for the past 13 years. Jarrett’s sudden exit came as a surprise. A press release issued by the organization says Jarrett resigned her position.
“We truly value the service Jan Jarrett provided to PennFuture and the citizens of Pennsylvania and wish her the very best in all future endeavors,” said David Lane, board chair of PennFuture. “We are excited to forward our mission under the leadership of George Jugovic. George brings an outstanding record in law and government, as well as a staunch commitment to a safe and clean environment.”
A spokeswoman for PennFuture, Jeanne Clarke, says the board of directors wanted to focus the organization on litigation. “They wanted to get back to the core mission,” said Clarke. “And Jugovic has an enormous amount of experience as a courtroom litigator.”
Clarke says Jarrett plans to take a “breather,” and focus on her grandchildren. Jarrett could not be reached for comment.
PennFuture ran into some trouble back in December when the organization returned a $138,000 state grant it received from the Department of Community and Economic Development. Some of the money had not been spent properly. Jan Jarrett said at the time she took full responsibility.
With Jugovic’s appointment, more lawsuits related to Marcellus Shale drilling are expected. PennFuture recently sued Ultra Resources for failing to get proper permits for its network of Marcellus Shale gas pipelines and compressor stations.
Jugovic received a B.S. in environmental resource management from Penn State, and a law degree from Lewis and Clark University. After graduating from law school, Jugovic clerked for the 9th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals. While with DEP, he litigated cases before the Pennsylvania courts, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He also prosecuted criminal cases for the Office of Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Section. Jugovic taught environmental criminal law at the University of Pittsburgh, and wrote the state’s first environmental crimes sentencing guidelines. But in an interview with Oil and Gas IQ editor Chris Archer last year, Jugovic sounds more of an industry booster, rather than crime buster. Jugovic said he had only positive experiences with gas drilling companies.
“These wells are more than a mile underground,” said Jugovic. So, I’m more likely to have my water supply impacted by a farmer up the road not properly managing his or her liquid manure from their cows, that’s stored above ground in an impoundment, than I am Marcellus Shale drilling.” Watch Jugovic speak about Marcellus Shale drilling in the Oil and Gas IQ video.
Jugovic lives in Butler County, where a community recently held a rally to solicit donations of clean water. Residents of the Woodlands, in Connoquenessing Township, say nearby gas drilling contaminated their water supplies.