Letter to the Editor

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

I was disappointed in your coverage on Monday, Feb. 7, of Tom Ridge’s appearance on campus (speaking about drilling for natural gas from the Marcellus Shale).

You did report that the audience wasn’t fully persuaded by his speech. But, for anyone who wasn’t there, your write-up doesn’t convey how thoroughly self-serving and condescending Mr. Ridge’s presentation actually was, nor how dismissive his “answers” to those questions which were permitted to be asked.

In particular, you quote Mr. Ridge as saying, “You need to have science drive this, folks.” Now, setting aside the use of “folks” as a put-down, it was clear from his other remarks what this rejoinder clearly meant: “You bring me the science, proving beyond any doubt that drilling is harmful, and I might listen to you. Until then, you have nothing to say. Furthermore, the industry will do nothing to advance the state of knowledge about the impact of drilling, and will obstruct anyone who does.”

Mr. Ridge also touted the gas industry’s “Guiding Principles,” such as “transparency,” but he had no answer when asked why homeowners, whose water supplies have been ruined by drilling, were required to sign gag orders as a condition of remediation (usually, water buffalos or worse).

Finally, you mention Mr. Ridge’s services to the gas industry as “consulting” (the word he used). An accurate description would be “public relations and government lobbying,” for which he receives some $900,000 per year.

If Tartan readers would like to round out their understanding of the issues raised in this presentation, they would do well to check

Thank you,