Oil, gas and coal industry representatives say that Michael Krancer, Pa. Governor Corbett's choice for Secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), brings a balanced perspective to the job. Krancer recently received a unanimous nod to head DEP from the state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. His nomination is likewise anticipated to be approved by the full Senate.

"He looks to the law," said one industry representative who worked with Krancer last year when he headed the Environmental Hearing Board, an arm of DEP. "He doesn't have a pre-set environmental or business agenda."

Krancer discussed natural gas safety and environmental issues raised in recent New York Times articles during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. The New York Times articles appeared a few days before Krancer's March 1 hearing. Krancer said the New York Times stories missed key factors, including a ramped-up regulatory environment started by DEP last year.

In his testimony, Krancer also discussed the need for a business-first philosophy of environmental regulation, saying, "Responsible, strong, vibrant and growing business is necessary as an engine for the protection of the environment."

"All you have to do is look at the former Iron Curtain experience and the pollution that is there to prove that a moribund economy is the enemy of environmental protection," according to Krancer.

Prior to his nomination to be Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of DEP, Krancer was a judge on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board—the statewide trial and appellate court for environmental cases that tries appeals of DEP actions.