Archive for the ‘Government’ Category
by Richard Burrill
Friday, June 20, 2014 – Did you know there was an event at the Pennsylvania State House in Harrisburg this past Tuesday concerning something that could have major implications on your life? This rally, sponsored by Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, the Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN) and several other groups and individuals, took place on June 17 at 1 p.m. and lasted about an hour in the Capitol Rotunda.
The purpose of the rally was to call for limiting hydro-fracking throughout Pennsylvania and for a moratorium on drilling of natural gas, a.k.a. methane, in our state forests and parks.
In addition to the four of us who drove up in the 91 degree heat from York, there were several hundred people in attendance, many of whom were carrying signs in support of our forests. Numerous journalists, photographers, television camera crews and reporters covered the event.
Over a dozen speakers made the case for protecting Pennsylvania’s environment from Governor Tom Corbett’s plan to lease our state forest and parks to Marcellus shale drillers. One of the speakers, PA State Representative Greg Vitali, of Delaware County, said that we need a severance tax on these gas companies. (Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax.) Others spoke passionately against the governor’s plan and for preserving the beautiful Penns Woods. Many urged us to develop natural fuels, instead of fossil fuels.
A January 2014 Franklin & Marshall College poll found that nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians oppose additional gas development in state forests and parks.
PA Governor Tom Corbett has said the leasing could generate $70 million to help close the budget gap. Well, governor, let’s take a look at some facts about our state forests. They are:
- Recreational and ecologic gems – what I call “Paradise.”
- Drivers of our tourism economy
- Home to a variety of animals, including black bear, wild turkeys, native brook trout and rare birds.
- Opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping
- In addition, our state parks alone host 38 million visitors each year and contribute $1.2 billion per year to the economy of the state, providing more than 13,000 quality jobs.
Governor Corbett’s plan threatens all of the above.
- He recently issued an executive order lifting the previous moratorium and reopened our state forests to leasing for natural gas drillers to fill a one-time budget gap.
- He believes his proposal will not result in any additional disturbances.
It should concern every citizen of this Commonwealth that nearly half of the 1.5 million acres of state-owned forests that overlay the Marcellus shale is already leased to gas companies. Also, a 2010 PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources(DCNR) study found all of the unleased land is in ecologically sensitive areas. If you go online, you may read a more extensive 2014 DCNR monitoring report that might give you more concern.
I urge all of you to study the issues and teach others. Remember, you don’t know what you have, until it’s gone, and if our forests are gone, will we be far behind? Think on it.
It was a 4-1 vote, but a few hours ago the Municipal Authority voted to sell the sewer system to the Lancaster Area Sewer Authority (LASA).
The vote, no doubt, generated cloistered conversations among a couple of councillors who will now come up with a new plot to “thwart the sale.”
… in other news:
“Police are asking for the public’s help to find a man they say burglarized three businesses in Columbia.” – MyColumbiaNews
and a Gallup Politics article that says “Americans’ confidence in Congress has sunk to a new low.hat the public has a ‘new low.’”
Now who didn’t already know that?
When people put crap into the water supply, nothing good can come out of it.
“Two retirees from the Pennsylvania Department of Health say its employees were silenced on the issue of Marcellus Shale drilling.
“One veteran employee says she was instructed not to return phone calls from residents who expressed health concerns about natural gas development.
“‘We were absolutely not allowed to talk to them,’ said Tammi Stuck, who worked as a community health nurse in Fayette County for nearly 36 years.
“Another retired employee, Marshall P. Deasy III, confirmed that.
“Deasy, a former program specialist with the Bureau of Epidemiology, said the department also began requiring field staff to get permission to attend any meetings outside the department. This happened, he said, after an agency consultant made comments about drilling at a community meeting.”
Yesterday, a reader sent an email asking about the status of the Locust Heights Swimming Pool.
We wanted to ask questions to find out more, but yesterday was a busy “out-of-town” day.
Another person told us the property at 1200 Locust Street has a pool wall structural problem and that the owners would not open the pool.
Local developer, Cimarron Properties, has the “for lease” sign on the property!
The pool’s facebook page has a bunch of comments including many who “knew” the pool would not be opening this year.
Earlier this year at a borough council meeting, the above item was on the agenda. What happens to the above AED?
A couple of interesting articles caught our attention.
1. Internet speed is faster on the moon than it is is Columbia. Kinda’ sad, huh? This paragraph from a article is revealing:
“As Bloomberg View has outlined, Congress could help by launching national fiber-optic campaign to compete with the cable industry and provide higher speeds. Many tech companies, including those part of the Internet.org partnership, have also made expanding global Internet connectivity a key goal and are taking steps to improve it. Google’s Project Loon launches Wi-Fi balloons, and the company recently acquired drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread connectivity with drones. Facebook is pursuing a similar strategy with Ascenta.” – Bloomberg View
Comcast ought not be the only game in town. But, wait: “The total of contributions to candidates from Comcast Corp PACs is 2 times larger than contributions from individuals.” Oh so that’s the reason. – OpenSecrets.org
2.The best one-liners in sitcom history. – ComplexPopCulture
3. And NSA was able to find only one of Snowden’s emails? Yeah, um-hm, right! “N.S.A. collecting millions of faces from Web Images.” – The New York Times
We found this an intriguing column.
By Robert Field | NewsLanc.com
“In order to save our republic from slipping away, the need has arisen to bring about controls on how elections are funded and to alter the structure of our federal government.
“Given their experiences and struggles with England, our founding fathers understandably had distaste for the parliamentary form of the British government, with its powerful monarchy and the House of Lords that shared power with the House of Parliament. They focused on checks and balances against future abuse of power.
“But both the English and American governments have evolved over almost two and a half centuries, the former for the good. We should take another look.
“Perhaps it takes oldsters to believe in reform. They have lived long enough to have witness much change taking place. Those who are observant of such matter understand that bringing about change requires much work, devotion, perseverance, and time… more often than not, a lot of time.”
The meeting was moved to the Front Street Fire Hall and about four dozen or so people were in the gallery as the joint Borough Council / Municipal Authority was convened by council president Michael Beury at 6:30 pm.
There were copies of the agenda and the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendation available for the people who came to the meeting which also was going to be the “meeting of the whole” as well as the discussion about recommendations of the Columbia Ad Hoc Committee’s Final Report.
All of the councillors, the borough manager, the mayor, the solicitor, the municipal authority members, the borough financial officer sat around a huge horseshoe shaped set of tables. And, there were microphones and a speaker system in place which allowed for the audience members to hear the comments of those around the tables and those who came forward to comment.
Fox News 43 was there, too. At least at the outset of the meeting.
When the meeting was recessed at 8:55 pm, the only agenda item that was addressed was that of the sewer. Would Columbia’s council accept the Authority’s recommendation to enter into an agreement to sell the sewer operations to the Lancaster Area Sewer Authority?
PowerPoint presentations from the Authority’s Mike Shober and LASA’s Mike Kyle showed the rationale and positive aspects of moving towards the sale. For the next several hours, citizens, borough employees, councillors and others in attendance made comments that supported the sale and were against the sale. Some of those who came forward asked for more information; others asked questions.
In the end, no clear consensus seemed obvious. The meeting and the discussion, no doubt, will be coming somewhere down the road.
The continuation of agenda items will resume when the council meeting of the whole re-convenes tomorrow evening at the borough hall at 6:00 pm.
Though encouraging to see so many people interested in this emotional issue, we expected to see more in attendance. For those who were not at the meeting, the transmission of who said what is left to those who came to the meeting to document the night’s activities. Others in the borough will get verbal reports from those who attended or written interpretations from others. The only way to get a full report is to attend meetings. Again, Columbia news, views & reviews does audio record public meetings in accordance with state law. If you would like a copy of the proceedings, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In anticipation of the Joint Borough Council/Municipal Authority Meeting which will be held on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 6:00pm at the Susquehanna Fire Company located at 10th and Manor Streets, Columbia, PA, citizens may want to be familiar with the FINAL REPORT and RECOMMENDATION of the Columbia Ad Hoc Committee for the LASA Acquisition of the Columbia Sewer System.
CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION.
It is, at least if you’re a registered Republican or Democrat in Pennsylvania.
Kinda’ sucks to be a registered Independent or another lesser populated party, though because Pennsylvania is one of those closed primary states.
Read this editorial from the May 18 Sunday News about exactly that issue.
But if you are registered to vote in one of the two parties, do it. Be an active participant in the system. Not every person in the world is as fortunate as Americans are.
Faulty system or not, you have a chance to say something.