HARRISBURG (AP) - Former Gov. Ed Rendell on Friday criticized Pennsylvania Democrats over their "ill-advised" call for a moratorium on fracking.
The Democratic State Committee voted 115-81 last weekend in favor of a resolution calling for an open-ended moratorium on fracking, the technique that drilling companies use to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation. Opponents contend fracking is an environmental menace, while drilling companies and many regulators say the technique is safe.
Rendell, who has indirect ties to the gas industry, told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg that the party's call to put the brakes on fracking puts it at odds with two of his past environmental protection secretaries - John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty - both Democrats now running for governor.
"It's very ill-advised," Rendell said. "The two biggest environmentalists in the state, who are both running for governor, both approved of fracking, permitted it and moved to put in place changes that have dramatically reformed the fracking process."
He added that fracking has "created jobs and huge economic investment in Pennsylvania."
Rendell is consultant to a private equity firm with natural gas investments, according to The Patriot-News.
Hanger told the newspaper he in favor of an existing moratorium in state forests, and strict regulation on private property.