A full two years before Pennsylvanians vote on their next governor, former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger has officially kicked off his campaign. More from the AP on today’s announcement:
Hanger vowed to make education the top priority for state funding and to end Pennsylvania’s status as the only major natural gas-producing state that does not tax production, but warned that gas alone “will never create prosperity” for the state.
“I will develop all our energy resources, including wind, solar and energy efficiency,” he said. “Saving energy remains the cheapest and cleanest energy resource available.”
Hanger said he favors legalizing gay marriage and the use of marijuana for medical purposes. He said he also supports abortion rights and passage of a state gay-rights law banning discrimination in matters such as housing and employment.
Hanger is the former head of Pennsylvania’s most high-profile environmental group, PennFuture, but has been criticized by hydraulic fracturing opponents like Josh Fox for the Rendell Administration’s embrace of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. (Hanger has an…unflattering…cameo in “Gasland,” and appeared in an industry-funded response to the film.)
Under Hanger, DEP tightened drilling regulations governing well construction standards and fluid disposal. The department’s budget was also cut by millions of dollars during his tenure.