Outspoken head of Pennsylvania DEP stepping down

    The chief of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is leaving his post to work as a lawyer for energy-sector clients.

    DEP Secretary Michael Krancer will resign in mid-April to work as an attorney for Blank Rome, a law firm where he previously worked in the 1990s.

    Krancer was no shrinking violet during his two years in office.

    His tenure has included dust-ups with the independent state agency overseeing Pennsylvania’s waterways and environmentalists who say he’s too cozy with the natural gas industry.

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    And he frequently took umbrage at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when it encroached on what he saw as the role of state regulators.

    Chris Abruzzo, a deputy chief of staff for Corbett, will serve as acting secretary of DEP until a permanent replacement is nominated.

    Krancer oversaw the department at a crucial time — most notably, during the passage and implementation of Act 13, a raft of policies responding to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, Abruzzo said.

    “He helped transition DEP from where they were in 2010 to where they are now in terms of the way we’ve adapted to this booming natural gas industry,” Abruzzo said Friday.

    Blank Rome gave more than $15,000 in gifts to Gov. Tom Corbett and the first lady. The firm was also a major donor to Corbett’s campaign.

    Krancer won’t be able to lobby the DEP for a year after he leaves office.

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