It’s an honor to join my fellow Pennsylvanians in welcoming
Gov.-elect Tom Corbett and his team to Harrisburg in this new
capacity. While we have a new administration, many challenges await
them as they embark on a new beginning for Pennsylvania state
These challenges bring with them great opportunity for our
commonwealth, but it is essential that we get "it" right.
Fortunately, Gov.-elect Corbett and his team begin their days of
renewal with a state that is blessed with a talented workforce, an
unrivaled work ethic, and a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship
that can make us leaders in the 21st century economy.
We also are blessed with abundant natural resources that when
developed responsibly, will make us a global leader in the production
of clean energy. My great affection for Penn’s Woods, the 12 million
Pennsylvanians I was privileged to serve, and the need for domestic
energy security has called me to action.
The Marcellus Shale represents a transformational opportunity for the
commonwealth; one that will use our skilled workforce, reduce energy
costs for consumers and enhance our economic and environmental
I stand ready to work with our governor-elect, the newly elected
state officials and all of my fellow citizens to make sure we develop
this resource the right way. With the campaign ads and election
season now behind us, it is time to develop a plan for the future of
On Sept. 30, I joined with the leadership of the Marcellus Shale
Coalition as we made a pledge to all Pennsylvanians when we released
our "Guiding Principles: Our Commitment to the Community." It is
under these principles that the shale gas industry will operate and
ultimately be judged in Pennsylvania.
Environmental protection, workplace safety, developing an engaged
local workforce and involvement in our local communities are
commitments that we have made together. The jobs that are being
created are substantial; the tax revenues significant.
The progress on regulatory modernization for this industry in
Pennsylvania is already moving us forward, and the benefits for all
Pennsylvanians, including the development of new markets for clean
natural gas, are very exciting.
In the coming months, we plan to expand upon our "Guiding Principles"
one-by-one, highlighting innovations and best practices being
employed by our members. We are already re-doubling our efforts to
reach out to the leaders of Pennsylvania’s workforce: our farmers and
landowners, conservationists, sportsmen and community leaders to
learn about their concerns in the interest of improving the
industry’s performance in every respect.
As the Marcellus Shale is developed, every issue needs to be
addressed, and continuous improvement in every aspect is a daily
goal. We are developing this clean energy resource for the benefit of
our environment, communities and the nation. No corner can be cut,
and our commitment to safety and the safeguarding of our air and
water is an absolute priority.
When I was governor, we were successful in achieving many of our
goals. I insisted as we moved forward that we take a long-term view
and execute a comprehensive plan, always in an effort to make
Pennsylvania a "leader among states and a competitor among nations."
As the plan for the development of the Marcellus Shale continues to
evolve, we stand ready to work with the new team in Harrisburg not
just to get something done, but to get something done right. By
working together, once again, Pennsylvania has the opportunity to
grow and prosper by offering our very best for the benefit of our
state and our nation.
Tom Ridge is the former governor of Pennsylvania and former U.S.
secretary of Homeland Security. He has been hired as a strategic
adviser to the Marcellus Shale Coalition (marcelluscoalition.org –