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September 24, 2016
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Environmental protection or economic growth? We need both

Last week, the Pennsylvania House took the controversial step of removing an important environmental mandate that requires riparian stream buffers and riparian forest buffers be used or installed under the state’s Clean Streams Law to avoid polluting the waters of the commonwealth.  Read more

Just in time

An estimated 400,000 marchers took to the streets of New York City on Sunday to press world leaders to address climate change and to do it now. Many marched with environmental and social justice organizations, others with friends and neighbors, still others in blocs representing their own special interests—students, for example; foodies and farmers; scientists; religious leaders and people of faith, and labor unions, to name only a few.  Read more

A wealth of riches; A day in the country

Even as rural America struggles to make itself economically relevant to the rest of the world in these challenging economic times, a series of authentic country experiences this past weekend brought home for me yet again, how rich we are who live along the back roads and in the hamlets and villages in the Upper Delaware River corridor. Living close to the land and to nature has long shaped the character of the people who settled here two or more centuries ago, and I would argue contributes to shaping the world view of many who come to visit or even to move here today.  Read more

Monarch butterflies: endangered species?

This week we were thinking about two Upper Delaware River Valley conservationists: Barbara Yeaman and Ed Wesely, founders of the Butterfly Barn Nature Center in Damascus, PA. Last summer it closed after two decades during which Wesely “rescued monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars from threatened habitats and, with the help of local children, nurtured and released more than 7,000 adult monarchs” (  Read more

The simple act of seed saving… And how it came to be so controversial

For thousands of years, farmers saved their own seeds to plant their crops. It’s a simple process: plant seeds in the spring, nurture those plants in the summer, harvest those crops in the fall and from them, collect next season’s seeds to store for the winter. Repeat.  Read more

Millennium decision: the system is broken

When the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia handed down the Millennium Pipeline Company decision on August 15, the court argued that Millennium had followed the law in the siting of its compressor station in the Town of Minisink.

While it may be true that the court, Millennium and the commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) all may have strictly followed the law, no reasonable person can look at the maps of the two sites that were at the center of the lawsuit, and conclude that the people of Minisink received justice.  Read more

Restore historic protections to waters of the United States

One would expect that, living close to the land, farmers would embrace environmental conservation and stewardship. And while many farmers deserve praise for doing so, regrettably, this is not always the case. One need only look at the controversy surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule to clarify what Waters of the United States they protect and do not protect as defined in the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972, and the act’s subsequent amendments. The proposal, which has come to be called the WOTUS rule, is in our opinion modest and balanced, yet critics, including powerful farming and ranching organizations, have engaged in wild exaggeration and have based their objections on a number of points that are just not true.  Read more

The arts, serving the public good

More than 500 people turned out to see The Weather Project performance on Saturday evening at the Yulan ball field. In doing so, each one of these audience members cast a vote (witting or not) in support of the arts in the Upper Delaware River region. In addition, 73 area residents acted, sang, danced or otherwise performed, including many adults and children who had never participated in a play before.  Read more

Comprehensive plans, zoning and the proposed drug rehab

The comprehensive plan for the Town of Tusten was adopted in 2007. A vision statement created for the plan at a community outreach event says, “We see our community growing in a balanced, diverse manner that protects its rural character by building on our strengths and historic roots.”  Read more

How two states support renewable energy (or not)

Solar power is turning into a growth industry. The total installed solar capacity in the U.S. has doubled in the last several years, and there has been a rapid drop in the average price per watt of solar-generated electricity. Some experts now predict a doubling of solar PV panels on homes and small businesses every two years, creating a growth industry with the potential to become a significant job-creator. Yet, Pennsylvania seems to be missing the message and, if it is not careful, the burgeoning solar energy economy will simply pass it by.  Read more