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Royal Dutch Shell: They've Really Got a Friend in Pennsylvania

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Headlined to H1 8/10/13

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The story continues at Penn State, where the Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR) announced that with funding provided by  General Electric and ExxonMobil--which donated a combined $2 million to Penn State, the University of Texas, and the Colorado School of Mines--it would offer a "Shale Gas Regulators Training Program." The Center had previously said it wasn't taking funding from private industry. However, the Center's objectivity may have already been influenced by two people--Tom Corbett, who sits on the university's board of trustees, and Terry Pegula.

Hippauf made a few more connections. Pegula, a Penn State graduate, is full owner of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League. Penn State had Division II ice hockey teams that played in a 1,350 seat stadium. That would change. In September 2010, Penn State announced that Pegula and his wife, Kim, donated $88 million, the largest individual gift in Penn State's history, to fund a world-class 6,000-seat ice hockey arena; the men's and women's ice hockey teams would now become Division I athletics; the arena will be completed this Fall. While understanding a person's motives is difficult, it's possible the Pegulas wanted to do something nice for Penn State. It's also possible they saw Penn State as a feeder school to the NHL, especially the Sabres. There is also another possibility.

On the day Pegula gave the money to Penn State, he said, "[T]his contribution could be just the tip of the iceberg, the first of many such gifts, if the development of the Marcellus Shale is allowed to proceed."

So, now we have connections between Penn State, a billionaire with connections to Penn State  and Pennsylvania's governor, and the world's largest gas and oil multi-nation corporation, which has substantial holdings in Pennsylvania--and is afraid to allow Ukrainians to hear about the negative effects of shale gas drilling.

[Dr. Brasch's latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an in-depth look at the effects of fracking upon health, the environment, and the economy; he also discusses the politics of fracking. The book is available at,, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore.]

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Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional (more...)
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