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Down to the Wire – Final Gubernatorial Debate Held in Pittsburgh

The third and final gubernatorial debate between Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic candidate Tom Wolf took place in Pittsburgh this week, with each fighting to differentiate himself and clarify his positions. Corbett and Wolf continued to clash on education funding as well as voter ID laws, marijuana, size of the legislature, taxation, and the death penalty.

Neither candidate directly addressed a question about tackling methane emissions from the natural gas industry during the debate, largely reverting to their usual rhetoric on the subject. Wolf reiterated his call for a 5 percent extraction tax on natural gas, which he said is projected to bring in as much as a billion dollars in revenue. Some of that money, he said, “should go to the Department of Environmental Protection to make sure that we have the right regulations, to make sure that we have the right number of people who will oversee the regulation of this industry so that we do have a clean environment.”

In a questionnaire ahead of last May’s primary, Wolf said that Pennsylvania must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and vowed to “work with the private sector to promote the development of new technology that quickly and effectively detects fugitive methane emissions.”

Gov. Corbett defended Pennsylvania’s environmental laws and enforcement efforts, though he did not specifically address the issue of methane emissions. “The men and women who work at DEP have been out there on a regular basis, conducting the inspections, following up on those inspections. When necessary, we’ve been imposing the fines that are necessary to get compliance with those. There