The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 8, 2012

Congress Members Back Legislation That Could Benefit Themselves, Relatives

(Continued)

Kelly did not disclose on his website or in the opinion piece that he held a financial stake in such endeavors.

In two congressional hearings in May, he railed against the EPA for efforts to regulate the industry and for investigating concerns about water contamination in relation to fracking. He thinks such work is better handled at the state level.

In June, his co-sponsorship of a natural gas bill — pushed by business magnate T. Boone Pickens — became an issue. The legislation would have provided between $5 billion and $9 billion in federal tax credits for a variety of initiatives to increase the number of passenger vehicles and long-haul trucks powered by natural gas.

The American Conservative Union and tea party groups launched an intensive lobbying effort to kill the bill, calling it a "boondoggle" as they attacked lawmakers, including Kelly, who had campaigned on a message of fiscal conservatism and promised to reduce government spending. Kelly withdrew his support, along with a host of other Republican lawmakers, and the bill died.

That same month, Exxon Mobil bought Phillips Resources and TWP for $1.69 billion. Kelly and his wife received their payments from the company the following month, according to Kelly's accountant and financial disclosure statements.

Kelly and his wife continued to be partners with the two other gas companies, and his efforts to promote Marcellus Shale natural gas development have also continued.

In October, Kelly was the lead signatory on a three-page letter from the Pennsylvania delegation to the White House about four federal agency studies on fracking and the environment. "We are concerned that the economic benefits of shale gas to ordinary citizens in states such as Pennsylvania and across the country are not part of the discussion," the letter said.

In a prepared statement, Kelly's chief of staff, Matthew Stroia, said the lawmaker has followed all rules and laws set by Congress regarding public disclosure of assets and conflict of interest.

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