Governor-elect Corbett announced yesterday that he will nominate Judge Michael Krancer to become the new Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. Judge Krancer comes to the position from his second stint on the State’s Environmental Hearing Board. Governor Ridge nominated him to that body in 1999, and Governor Rendell elevated him to be its Chief Judge and Chairman in 2003. After running for State Supreme Court in 2007 and then serving as Assistant General Counsel for Exelon, Judge Krancer returned to the EHB in 2009. Judge Krancer worked in private practice prior to his time on the Hearing Board.
I have known Judge Krancer for many years, and he is an excellent choice for this position. He is thoughtful and smart, and not beholden to special interests. He is fair, sensitive to both business and environmental concerns, and a good administrator. His nomination has received praise from environmental and corporate interests alike.
Assuming he is confirmed, Judge Krancer will have his hands full. There are a plethora of issues that need to be addressed regarding natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. Governor-elect Corbett has announced that he wants to extract energy development issues from DEP’s authority (and has just tapped Patrick Henderson, a top aide to Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chairwoman Mary Jo White to serve as “Energy Executive”). In addition, DEP has faced severe funding cutbacks recently, and morale within the agency is at a low point.