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Corbett’s top energy adviser hired by gas industry

Patrick Henderson was Governor Corbett's Energy Executive.

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

Patrick Henderson served as Governor Corbett's Energy Executive. He will now be Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Less than a week after Governor Corbett left office, his top energy adviser has accepted a new job with Pennsylvania’s largest gas industry trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Patrick Henderson, who made $145,000 a year as Corbett’s Energy Executive, will now become the MSC’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

“These are truly exciting times within the energy industry,” Henderson wrote in an email to StateImpact Pennsylvania. “I very much look forward to partnering with the coalition and its members to advance what is a shared commitment to developing our energy resources in a safe and responsible way.”

“Pat’s deep understanding of energy-related regulatory and legislative issues is matched only by his likeability, attention-to-detail and solutions-focused approach to policy matters,” says MSC President Dave Spigelmyer. “We look forward to Pat contributing immediately toward our organization’s collective efforts focused on ensuring that Pennsylvania continues to be a national leader in the safe production of clean-burning natural gas.”

But Barry Kauffman of the government reform group Common Cause PA says Henderson’s new job is an another example of the revolving door between government and industry.

“It certainly elevates cynicism about how government operates,” he says. “As it became clear Mr. Corbett was not going to be re-elected, what kind of things was [Henderson] doing in this position of high power to encourage people to hire him after he leaves? I don’t know the answer to that.”

Joanne Kilgour heads the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club and says she was not surprised by the news.

“We always suspected he was working for the interests of polluters rather than the people of Pennsylvania,” she says. “Now he just has the title to prove it.”

The coalition recently created the Harrisburg-based position, which will allow Henderson to work with the state legislature and agencies that oversee gas drilling on regulatory matters.

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