Corbett inaugural to include gas drilling protest

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has released his inauguration day schedule of events, beginning with a morning Mass at Cathedral and ending with a gala ball at the Farm Show arena.

Now you can add one more. Protestors opposed to Corbett's policies on natural gas drilling will be rallying across the street from the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 18.

"People who are opposed to Tom Corbett's gas drilling policies will gather in Harrisburg to make their voices heard," said Gene Stilp, a Harrisburg-area activist and a coordinator of the rally. "Besides pointing out the environmental downside of gas drilling, we will also be pointing out to Republicans that the policies Corbett wants go against basic constitution rights."

The groups say they are worried the roughly $1 million Corbett received during his campaign from natural gas companies will influence his policies as governor. In addition, dozens of industry leaders and lobbyists are members of Corbett's transition team.  

"He's basically owned and operated by the gas drillers," said Stilp.

Corbett also supports so-called forced pooling, which would allow gas companies to drill beneath the properties of holdout landowners without a lease. Stilp says that amounts to "subterranean emminent domain and violates people's property rights."

The rally will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Soldier's Grove, the park behind the Capitol on the far side of the street from the inauguration ceremony. The inauguration begins at 11 a.m. with the swearing in of Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley of Bucks County. Corbett will be sworn in at 11:30 a.m.



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