Appalachian Basin

*Update* Diane Rehm Invites John Hanger on Show, Then Refuses to Let Him Speak

Many of our readers are likely familiar with John Hanger, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmenal Protection, who served under Governor Edward Rendell (D) during the run-up phase with respect to Marcellus development in the state.  During his tenure, overseeing one of the most active natural gas shale plays in the nation, Mr. Hanger ushered through a series of regulatory initiatives that, though not always popular, put Pennsylvania in the catbird seat in which it finds itself today. Among the moves he made:

  • He more than doubled the staff of Pennsylvania DEP’s oil and gas oversight staff — from 88 to 202 people.  This was achieved by raising well permit fees from $100 per application to up to $10,000 depending on well depth.
  • He ushered a review and strengthening of all regulations governing drilling and required producers to submit detailed water plans regulating withdrawals, transport and disposal of water used for drilling.
  • He strengthened the state’s regulations governing the design and construction of gas wells and their casing requirements (more after the jump!)

Prior to his service as Secretary Mr. Hanger was president and CEO of Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture),  where he helped draft and enact Pennsylvania’s 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act.  He also served as a Commissioner with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). All of which is to say:  Hanger has been around the block — and has a resume as long as your arm to prove it. By the way: He also has an excellent blog.

Earlier this week, Hanger was invited to call-in to Diane Rehm’s show on NPR — asked to provide his insight on the latest hit-pieces targeting natural gas unleashed by The New York Times.  John graciously agreed to provide his unique perspectives on her segment entitled “Natural Gas: Promise and Perils”. And that’s exactly what he did — or at least, tried to do. But take a listen to the segment. Notice how often Hanger gets cut-off by the host? It happens once, and then twice, and then every single time thereafter. Again: If you didn’t want to hear what the guy has to say, why invite him on your show?

Such condescending attitudes pervade public radio and are universally delivered in those fake ponderous monotone voices that its interviewers cultivate as a way to assert their supposed superiority, but in Rehm’s case they demonstrated little more than a petty small-mindedness.  She owes John Hanger an apology, but don’t expect it anytime soon.  Such is the opposition we face.  Fortunately, they are losing and that, perhaps, explains everything.

Update 1:  Well, looks like we were not alone in highlighting Diane Rehm’s improper treatment of former Secretary Hanger.  Looking at her website you see a majority of the comments provided chastise her for the unprofessional treatment she provided.  This one take the cake from my perspective.

“It’s no wonder no industry representative would appear on the show. The way Ms. Rehm treated Mr. Hanger suggests a good reason for them to seek better forums. If I were Hanger, I would have hung up early in the show, when it became obvious not only that Rehm had a slanted panel but that she wasn’t going to let him answer points brought up against his position. I’m surprised to read in comments here that he says he didn’t hang up–he must have extraordinary patience and tolerance for rudeness.”

“I’ve heard Rehm claim before her show isn’t biased, that being “liberal’ means being open-minded, and similar nonsense, but today’s performance tops it all.”


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