Friday, April 1, 2011
The Tom Corbett administration suddenly is all about consistency.
It's just not fair, you see, that some natural gas drillers are being charged with violations when other drillers are doing exactly the same things, and aren't being charged.
And the Corbett administration is about nothing if not consistency when it comes to enforcing the law.
In order to rectify this heart-rending injustice, the Secretary of Environmental Protection must personally approve all enforcement actions and notices of violation. But only for natural gas drillers.
Of course, the only way this will bring about consistency is to issue no enforcement actions against any natural gas drillers whatsoever. After all, if the Corbett administration knows that other drillers are committing the same violations, why aren't they being charged?
See how complicated this gets when you start to think about it?
Let's simplify it:
Inconsistent enforcement of environmental regulations is bad. (Apparently, any enforcement of environmental regulations is bad, when it comes to natural gas drillers)
Inconsistent enforcement of ethics laws, conflict of interest and abuse of public office is A-OK!
When it comes to fouling the state's natural resources, "everyone does it" actually is a valid defense (but only for natural gas drillers). The Corbett administration apparently believes if they can't charge everybody, they shouldn't charge anybody (at least not natural gas drillers).
Obviously, that's a direct contradiction of Corbett's policies when it came to charging politicians accused of abusing their offices for political and personal gain.
Need we list again the many examples? Former Rep. Matt Wright. Former Rep. James Lynch. York County D.A. Stan Rebert. State Budget Office executive Jem Pagan. Terry Bryant, whose decision seems to have disappeared from the Ethics Commission Website, but who "utilized Commonwealth facilities, equipment, personnel, and supplies in support of his outside employment with real estate companies" and was fined $2,000 with no referral to law enforcement. State Rep. Mauree Gingrich. Former State Rep. Eugene McGill. State Sen. Jane Orie. State Rep. Bill DeWeese.
We could go on. (And we have)
We're just surprised Corbett officials don't burst into flame when they try to claim consistency is a goal.