Gov. Tom Corbett has announced Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Krancer is stepping down April 15. He plans to return home to Montgomery County to practice law.
Corbett appointed Krancer in 2011, and since then the DEP has had to oversee the booming Marcellus Shale industry.
“Serving Governor Corbett and DEP has been the greatest honor of my career,” Krancer said. “I am grateful to the governor for giving me this role is assuring that natural gas and energy development happen in an environmentally sound and responsible manner.”
Krancer’s time as head of the DEP was not without controversy. He frequently accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of overstepping its boundaries when it came to regulating the rapidly growing natural gas industry in Pennsylvania, and his exchanges with Democratic lawmakers during legislative hearings were sometimes hostile.
Environmental groups regularly accused him of siding with the natural gas industry, and the head of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has complained that Krancer's agency was more concerned with politics than dealing with a decline in fish populations in the Susquehanna River.
Krancer was a state environmental law judge and lawyer for energy giant Exelon Corp. before joining the Republican governor's administration. He helped oversee Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission and handled emerging issues of river and air pollution as Pennsylvania worked to modernize its laws around drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
E. Christopher Abruzzo, Corbett's deputy chief of staff, will serve as acting secretary. He will hold both positions until Corbett names Krancer’s successor.
Abruzzo said Krancer oversaw the department as it was being reorganized from the inside to deal with new regulations.
"His leadership during that transition is going to be a big part of his legacy," Abruzzo said.