The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Senator Mary Jo White, RVenango, has scheduled a public hearing to consider the nomination of the Honorable Michael Krancer as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, 2011 beginning at 9 a.m. in the Senate Majority Caucus Room of the state Capitol complex in Harrisburg. Acting Secretary Krancer will appear before the Committee to respond to questions.

In related news, Senator White applauded Governor Corbett for repealing the policy of imposing additional restrictions on oil and gas drilling on state park and forest land as part of the state Department of Environmental Protection's standard well-permitting process.

"The Governor took the appropriate action in repealing the policy," White said in a statement. "As I outlined in my letter to Governor Rendell last November, the policy was irresponsible, and could potentially cost Pennsylvania taxpayers tens of millions of dollars from the impairment of existing contracts."

White added that by repealing the policy, Governor Corbett properly upheld a legal precedent set in the case of Belden & Blake Corporation v. DCNR, where the courts prohibited the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources from imposing surface use agreements and drilling conditions on permit applicants who owned the subsurface mineral rights underlying state park land.

"DEP has done a good job of working to ensure that natural gas is developed responsibly, and DCNR has negotiated and executed lease agreements which contain meaningful added protections for publiclyowned lands," said White. "However, if there is justification for general conditions on natural gas production on all state lands, these should be adopted by statute or regulation, and must adhere to settled case law."