Just as it seemed the dust was settling in the fight to lease state land for shale exploration, recent closed-door meetings (Capitolwire, subscription needed) conducted by the Rendell Administration have raised serious concerns over state contracting procedures.
Near the end of September, Gov. Rendell announced the state had contracted an out-of-state seismic imagining firm to analyze which state lands contain the largest concentrations of shale. Now, almost a month later, the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) claims there has been no official contract made and it is currently still being discussed by the Administration.
In an October 14th press release, the PA Coalition for Responsible Government broke the news on these secret negotiations, prompting an outcry over what many see as unfair contracting procedures and blatant corporate favoritism. Without providing open and transparent bidding on these contracts, it is almost impossible to ensure taxpayers are getting the lowest price and highest quality contractor – rather than the most politically connected.