The Corbett Administration announced this morning that DEP Secretary Michael Krancer is leaving the agency on April 15.
He plans to return home to Montgomery County to practice law at his former firm, Blank Rome.
As StateImpact recently reported, Blank Rome has given Governor Corbett and his wife Susan over $15,000 in gifts since 2007.The firm has a lobbying arm and a Shale Oil and Gas Development team of lawyers that represent major oil and gas companies fighting environmental regulations.
Krancer has been a controversial figure as the head of the DEP. He has clashed with the EPA and been reluctant to embrace the scientific consensus surrounding climate change. Environmentalists have questioned his close ties to the drilling industry.
Here’s more from the press release:
“Secretary Krancer has been an invaluable member of our team and I am grateful for his service,’’ Corbett said. “His impressive efforts at DEP have taken the agency back to basics, protecting the environment and making the permitting process more efficient.Corbett appointed Krancer to his cabinet in January 2011, where Krancer oversaw many major initiatives, including the reorganization of the agency, which created an Oil and Gas deputate and improved consistency statewide in enforcing that industry’s regulations.Krancer also oversaw the Permit Review Process and Permit Decision Guarantee, which have brought timeliness and consistency to the permitting process for all agency-regulated activities.In April 2011, Krancer and the governor issued a call to Marcellus Shale operators to stop delivering shale gas drilling wastewater to plants that were not equipped to fully treat it, which resulted in a sea change overnight and improved the health of Pennsylvania’s waterways.Krancer also made brownfields redevelopment and abandoned mine reclamation projects around the state a priority and oversaw the implementation of the Covered Device Recycling Act.Krancer and his agency were also instrumental in facilitating new investments and potential investments around the state, including his role in Governor Corbett’s team efforts to save the three southeastern Pennsylvania refineries and attract to them new environmentally responsible investors, employers and projects.Krancer also had the opportunity to testify as an expert before several U.S. Congressional committees on many topics.“Serving Governor Corbett and DEP has been the greatest honor of my career,’’ Krancer said. “Pennsylvania is well on its way to becoming the focal point of an American energy revolution, and I am grateful to the governor for giving me this role in assuring that natural gas and energy development happen in an environmentally sound and responsible manner.“I owe a tremendous amount of thanks and appreciation to all of the talented, dedicated, hard-working professionals at DEP with whom I have been privileged to work as their Secretary,” he said.DEP has 2,633 employees and a $655 million budget.Krancer will rejoin his former law firm, Blank Rome LLP, an international law firm based in Philadelphia.In addition to his previous legal work at Blank Rome, Krancer, 55, of Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, served as a judge on the state’s Environmental Hearing Board for 10 years, including four years as chief judge and chairman. He has also worked as an attorney for Exelon Corp.A graduate of the University of Virginia, Krancer earned his law degree from Washington and Lee University.“I appreciate Mike’s unwavering commitment to this job, knowing that it took him away from spending quality time with his wife and children,’’ Corbett said. “While I am sorry to lose his expertise in the administration, I am glad this is an opportunity for him to go back home.”E. Christopher Abruzzo, deputy chief of staff for Governor Tom Corbett, will serve as acting secretary. Abruzzo, who works closely with Krancer and the DEP staff in his position as deputy chief of staff, will hold both positions until Corbett names Krancer’s successor.