Rendell pick for Environmental Protection spot passes first rocky test

    The full Pennsylvania Senate will vote on whether to give Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger the job on a more permanent basis. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee unanimously approved Hanger’s nomination yesterday but not before he answered some tough questions.

    The full Pennsylvania Senate will vote on whether to give Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger the job on a more permanent basis. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee unanimously approved Hanger’s nomination yesterday but not before he answered some tough questions.

    Much of Hanger’s confirmation hearing focused on his tenure as the head of the environmental advocacy group PennFuture.

    Committee chair Mary Jo White, a Republican representing parts of six northwestern counties, says she was particularly troubled by a 2005 press release put out by the group that claimed she and other lawmakers were letting corporate campaign donations affect their stance on environmental regulation measures.

    White: I have no problem with you disagreeing with me. You can say this whole committee is as dumb as a box of rocks, and that doesn’t bother me at all. But when you say that we are corrupt, or imply that we are corrupt, and you say that that’s mere advocacy, I can’t buy that.

    Hanger apologized for the press release.

    He also assured the panel that he recuses himself from any DEP decisions involving PennFuture.

    The committee unanimously voted to pass Hanger’s nomination onto the full Senate. White says she wants the entire chamber to weigh in on whether the acting secretary should be appointed to the post.

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