Corbett won't return campaign funds from oil firm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett said Wednesday he had no plans to comply with a request by an environmental group to return a $3,000 campaign contribution he received May 13 from a part-owner of the deepwater well that is billowing oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, an affiliate of the national League of Conservation Voters, asked last week that Corbett refuse any money from Anadarko Petroleum until the Texas company contributed to the cost of the cleanup. The company owns one-quarter of the well but has said that BP, as the well operator, is wholly responsible for the cleanup.

Anadarko, which also drills for natural gas, won a $120 million no-bid contract from the Rendell administration on May 11 to develop gas wells on 33,000 acres of public land in Pennsylvania.

Corbett said that, as the GOP nominee for governor, he was interested in how the company operated its Pennsylvania gas fields.

"Anadarko is here in Pennsylvania," he said in an interview. "We're looking at their conduct in Pennsylvania."

Corbett, who faces Democratic nominee Dan Onorato in the Nov. 2 election, was in Chester County to take a tour of Bentley Systems Inc., an Exton company that produces software for infrastructure maintenance.

He told a gathering of employees that development of the Marcellus Shale deposits, which cover two-thirds of the state, could be key to Pennsylvania's future economy.

"We're sitting on top of Saudi Arabia when it comes to natural gas," he said.

The Marcellus Shale has the potential to produce 500,000 jobs, he said.

A study released by Common Cause Education Fund found that Corbett had received $361,207 in contributions from the natural gas industry as of March, compared with $59,300 for Onorato.


Contact staff writer Tom Infield

at 610-313-8205 or tinfield@phillynews.com.