“A model state”
Corbett’s former health secretary Eli Avila told StateImpact Pennsylvania he was not aware of the policies described by the two former department employees. He was leading the department at the time when, according to Stuck and Deasy, the “buzzwords” list was handed down and employees needed permission to attend meetings.
Avila said it would have been possible for one of the deputy secretaries in the department or the governor’s office to have taken such a step without his knowledge.
Avila resigned in October 2012 amid a lawsuit from a Harrisburg restaurant owner stemming from an argument over an egg sandwich. He is now health commissioner for Orange County, New York.
Avila is disappointed that the health registry, an idea he endorsed before the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, has not yet been carried out.
“Pennsylvania was poised to be the model state when it came to fracking,” he said. “That’s how I saw it. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.”