Energy. Environment. Economy.


Gov. Tom Wolf



Tom Wolf is the 47th governor of Pennsylvania. The Democrat easily defeated unpopular Republican Tom Corbett in the November 2014 election.

He’s running for re-election, and several Republicans have entered the primary field in a bid to oppose him.

Wolf had never held elected office before becoming governor. He ran his family’s York County kitchen cabinet business for years.

He is the first person to defeat a sitting governor since the state constitution was changed in 1968, allowing governors to serve two terms. The wealthy businessman donated $10 million to his own campaign, allowing him to launch a slew of folksy TV commercials early on, which resonated with voters.

Over the years he’s been a major contributor to the Democratic party. After giving more than $200,000 to former Governor Ed Rendell, he was appointed state revenue secretary in 2007.

A central part of Wolf’s gubernatorial campaign focused on criticizing the way his predecessor handled Marcellus Shale gas development. Wolf pledged to do away with the current Marcellus Shale impact fee and enact a five percent severance tax on the gas industry, but that hasn’t happened — and if the state does adopt such a tax, it likely will be different than what Wolf proposed.

In early 2016, Wolf came under criticism from environmental advocates for what they say is a lack of action on issues such as climate change. Wolf cites a package of stronger regulations for Marcellus Shale gas drillers and a ban on further leasing of state park and forest land for oil and gas development as evidence he is getting things done despite a Republican-controlled Legislature.

Latest Posts

Audio: Governor Wolf wants faster permitting for oil and gas

Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to speed up the state’s environmental permitting process was among the main topics of discussion on the latest broadcast of The Confluence, a news program on Pittsburgh’s 90.5 FM WESA. StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Reid Frazier spoke about what impact Wolf’s efforts to hire 35 more Department of Environmental Protection inspectors, could have for the state’s [...]

Wolf’s campaign website has misleading claims about his environmental record

Gov. Tom Wolf, in this Dec., 2015 file photo, said a plastic bag bill would have violated the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

At the top of Governor Tom Wolf’s list of accomplishments on his reelection campaign website is an inaccurate claim he instituted a moratorium on natural gas drilling. The site says one of the Democrat’s first actions was to enact a “gas drilling moratorium on Pennsylvania’s state parks.” There are two things wrong with that statement.

Environmentalists want more action from Tom Wolf. More talk would be nice, too

Environmental groups are pushing Governor Tom Wolf to advocate more for green causes as the Democrat gears up for the final year of his first term and runs for reelection. Wolf will deliver his fourth budget address Tuesday—the annual speech to the legislature that lays out his priorities. Many environmentalists say his record, so far, has [...]

Gov. Wolf doesn’t recall campaign pledge to join climate initiative

Governor Tom Wolf said Friday he never made a campaign pledge to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative —a market-based effort among northeastern states to limit carbon emissions. “I don’t remember making that promise,” he said, following a news conference about oil and gas permitting changes. “In fact, I do remember I didn’t make that [...]

Ethics complaint filed against Wolf aide who’s married to gas industry lobbyist

A complaint filed with the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission alleges a senior aide to Governor Tom Wolf might have illegally blurred the lines between the public’s business and her own. StateImpact Pennsylvania first reported a year ago that Wolf aide Yesenia Bane could be running afoul of state ethics law, when a review of her [...]

DRBC confirms it will consider banning fracking in basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission confirmed on Monday that it will consider adopting new rules that would ban natural gas drilling in the basin, a policy that would formalize a de facto moratorium that has been in place since 2010. The interstate regulator of water quality and supply in the basin said in a statement [...]

Gov. Wolf: pipelines necessary to ‘live the life we want’

Governor Tom Wolf is addressing public concerns about pipeline safety, after construction on a major natural gas liquids line was halted by a state judge. Speaking Thursday on WITF’s Smart Talk, Wolf noted pipelines are an integral part of modern life, while stressing the importance of safety. Wolf says he’s spoken directly with Matthew Ramsey, [...]

Senate budget measure would outsource environmental permit review

The Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday approved a package of budget measures that includes a startling plan to speed up state approval of environmental permits by outsourcing reviews to third parties. The Senate passed by 26-24 a series of amendments designed to end a month-long budget stalemate by providing revenue to pay for a $32 billion [...]

Longwall mining bill becomes law, angering environmentalists

Gov. Tom Wolf declined on Friday to veto a bill that makes it easier to develop a long-wall coal mine beneath a state park in Greene County, allowing it to become law despite pressure from environmentalists who say it will damage streams. Senate Bill 624 allows the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits for [...]

DEP issues few violations, one fine for Sunoco’s pipeline construction spills

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has issued four Notices of Violation, one consent order and one fine to Sunoco Pipeline for dozens of drilling mud spills that occurred along the length of the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction project. The DEP released a statement on Friday describing its efforts to manage Sunoco’s construction of the [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »