When they got to speeches in February last year, Gov. Tom Corbett and Brian Bolus were on a first name basis, or at least the governor was as he plugged the gumption-to-riches Life of Brian into his administration’s fracking-friendly narrative.
Twenty-two years ago, the governor related, Brian was just a college kid driving a tow truck, with an American dream in his heart and an eye out for opportunity.
Gov. Corbett, who was whacking public education money from his budgets, seized the occasion to spotlight how many certified teachers Pennsylvania state universities produce every year compared to how few of them were actually needed.
What Pennsylvania needed, the governor explained, were entrepreneurial job-creators like Brian here, owner of Minuteman Environmental Services.
Minuteman Environmental Service’s rise was at full meteor then – $5 million and climbing with 158 employees and a sparkling garage in the Milton Industrial Park full of heavy-duty capital investment in tank trucks, vacuum trucks, roll-off trucks, frack and mud tanks, and hazmat and emergency response capabilities – including, outside somewhere, a helicopter.
Minuteman trucks water to Marcellus Shale drilling sites and hauls off frack gunk. It specializes in spill cleanup, waste disposal and site restoration.
Minuteman has the services. But Tom Corbett created the environment.
The possibility and profitability of Minuteman flourished in the political economy shaped by a first-term governor with unemployment in double digits and only shale gas in his pocket.
Gov. Corbett wanted job-creation on a fast track, uninhibited by extraction taxes, impact fees, zealous inspectors or bothersome regulation. Drilling had a four-to-one ratio in downstream jobs like those Brian Bolus was creating.
So when the big swoop happened early Wednesday morning and armed, black-uniformed agents from all over the alphabet plowed through Minuteman’s offices, Brian Bolus’s home and Brian Bolus’s tech services in search of evidence, we asked if the Governor knew what was happening to his partner.