Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Growl Revisited

Monday's Growl on C. Alan Walker needs an update.

A Growl Revisited

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(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a BE)

JB: Boss, we need to revisit Monday's Growl on Corbett's cabinet pick, C. Alan Walker.

BE: The polluting coal company owner who gave Corbett $184,000 in campaign dough and today has his confirmation hearing as secretary of the Department of Community & Economic Development?

JB: That's the one. A Daily News editorial Monday questioned the appointment and noted news stories in ProPublica and elsewhere saying Walker's former company, Bradford Coal, drew a court order from the state for refusing to clean up its wastewater.

BE: Right. And now?

JB: The Harrisburg Patriot today has a story quoting Walker and two former Department of Environmental Protection officials saying the order was all part of "negotiations" to speed a procedure along and that Walker's company was no worse a polluter than any other big coal company.

BE: Well, if he doesn't pollute worse than most polluters I guess we shouldn't be so hard on him.

JB: Walker contends he was "posturing" when he told state officials he would stop treating wastewater as of a certain date. Says he was only trying to get DEP's attention. And the DEP guys now say Walker eventually complied, set aside funds for continued water treatment and basically did everything he was supposed to do. Clean slate.

BE: Why didn't they or he explain that from the get-go?

JB: Excellent question.

BE: Why do we only get this on the day he's scheduled for his confirmation hearing?

JB: A second excellent question.

BE: And what about that special budget provision that gives Walker power to speed along permits for business?

JB: Three for three, boss. How do you do it?

BE: Well, at least he seems to be off the hook as a PA polluter. Nice of you to point it out.

JB: I'm all about nice. grrrrr.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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