"The state Senate president, a key player in the debate over natural-gas drilling in Pennsylvania, accepted a free trip from one of the state's largest energy companies to see the Pittsburgh Steelers play in the Super Bowl.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) had his ticket, plane ride, and hotel bill paid for by Consol Energy Inc., a major coal producer and one of the companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, according to Scarnati's top aide.
Scarnati and other top Senate Republicans were frequently singled out by former Gov. Ed Rendell and environmental advocates for blocking an extraction tax on shale drilling, even in the face of a projected $4 billion state budget deficit. Pennsylvania is the largest gas-producing state without such a tax."