Judge Michael Krancer Named as Next PADEP Secretary

January 2011Newsletters In the Zone

Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Tom Corbett recently announced his intention to nominate Environmental Hearing Board Judge Michael Krancer as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. Judge Krancer has served as a judge on the EHB for almost 10 years. He was nominated by Governor Tom Ridge in 1999, and in 2003 was named by Governor Rendell as Chief Judge and Chairman of the EHB. Judge Krancer briefly stepped down from the EHB to be the Republican nominee for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and then served as assistant general counsel for Exelon Corporation prior to returning to the EHB.

Judge Krancer no doubt has a tough job ahead of him running the PADEP, which has been battered in recent years by budget cuts and low morale. The Department has also lost many senior staff to retirement, and the expectation is that more retirements will be coming. Additionally, the most significant economic opportunity to hit Pennsylvania in decades – the development of the Marcellus Shale – raises a whole host of environmental issues that will quickly confront the new Secretary. Those issues include balancing the need to grow Pennsylvania’s economy and create jobs with the need to strictly regulate the industry and protect the state’s water supply, as well as defending Pennsylvania’s sovereignty and its ability to control its own economic destiny while others, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Delaware River Basin Commission, try to push their way into the regulatory framework.

The PADEP is a big department with many moving parts, and Judge Krancer is likely to have his hands full beyond the Marcellus Shale. There is the matter of reorganizing the Department, which was last restructured in 1995 when, along with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, it split from the Department of Environmental Resources. Governor-Elect Corbett has talked about pulling all the energy functions out of the Department, which it if happens will occur relatively quickly, along with other restructuring necessary to implement his “back-to-basics” philosophy for the Department.

For more information about the likely direction the PADEP will take under Secretary Krancer or if you have a question you’d like to direct to the new Secretary, please contact M. Joel Bolstein at 215.918.3555 or [email protected].