Energy - December 13, 2013

PA Senate confirms new DEP Secretary

E. Christopher Abruzzo was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate this week as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.  Abruzzo was serving as Corbett’s deputy chief of staff when he was named acting secretary last April.  Former DEP Secretary Mike Krancer stepped down last March to return to private practice as an attorney.  In the fall Corbett nominated Abruzzo for the position along with EllenFerretti for Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Both were confirmed this week; Ferretti unanimously, Abruzzo with a vote of 42-8.  Abruzzo is making headlines for comments he made regarding climate change during his confirmation hearing.  When asked if he believed climate change was harmful in terms of the environment and species sustainability, he responded with the this statement: I’ve not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude there are adverse impacts to human beings, animals, or plant life at this small level of climate change, but I agree there are impacts.  He has since told “that there are impacts” and “things like air pollution” can be harmful; some legislators at the hearing said the comments were taken out of context and were in relation to the immediate implications for global climate change.  Sen. Daylin Leach, who voted against the confirmation, said he believes that Abruzzo is qualified for many jobs, just not this one.  Senate President Pro Tempore, Joe Scarnati, said that he felt Abruzzo was “capable of handling the duties of running the department.”


Leach stepping down from Democratic Senate Campaign Committee post

Senator Daylin Leach has announced that as of January 1, 2014 he will step down from the chairmanship of the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.  Leach is running for the 13th Congressional District seat; Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz who currently holds that seat is running for governor.  The decision was a mutual one between Leach and the committee; though his efforts to recruit candidates has been praised, his campaign was a definite factor in his decision to step down.  Leach had held the position since 2010 and said that he was still looking forward to working with the committee to “ensure that the Senate Democrats take the majority next year.”


The following members will not be seeking reelection in 2014: 

  • Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster)
  • Sen. Mike Waugh (R-York)
  • Sen. Edwin Erickson (R-Delaware)
  • Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair)
  • Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny)
  • Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester)
  • Rep. Phyllis Mundy (D-Luzerne)
  • Rep. Dick Stevenson (R-Mercer) – most recent announcement


Running for state Senate in 2014:

  • Rep. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster)
  • Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster)