Cutting off public comment, more

Letters to the editor May 12 to 18

Posted 5/11/22

Private benefit amid public squalor

I write in response to Betty Sutliff’s  “My View” about fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

She argues that Pennsylvania’s …

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Cutting off public comment, more

Letters to the editor May 12 to 18

Posted

Private benefit amid public squalor

I write in response to Betty Sutliff’s  “My View” about fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

She argues that Pennsylvania’s representation on the DRBC is unfair because PA has the largest amount of land in the basin. Nonsense. Acreage does not get, nor deserve, representation. People do.

She argues that fracking would help decrease our dependence on Russian oil and gas. The first Earth Day was 52 years ago and the issue was global warming. We are now facing a climate emergency due to the use of fossil fuels. If we had responded appropriately 52 years ago we would not be concerned about the availability of oil and gas because their use would have been largely phased out. The planet would be much healthier. 

Ultimately the only ones who benefit from fracking are the over-sized and over-wealthy fossil fuel companies. The crawl on last night’s BBC news read “Shell profits nearly triple.” How about an excess-profits tax on the fossil fuel industry? And rebate it to taxpayers until prices come down? An approach that would benefit all of us, not just huge corporations who created the problem and reap outrageous profits from its continuance.

As to the question of health and safety. The industry’s statements about methane emissions have already been shown to be misleading and false. No doubt the coal industry claimed their practices were safe. Tell that to the former miners suffering and dying from black lung disease. We are still paying to clean up mines and their waste. And the coal industry is not paying for the cleanup. We taxpayers are.    

I believe the descriptive phrase is “private benefit amid public squalor.”

Pat Wilson

Equinunk, PA 

Use your voice, vote in the May primaries  

Registered to vote in the May primaries, but unsure how to research your candidates or find your polling place? With so many candidates, and with new district maps to understand, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. The League of Women Voters of  Pennsylvania has the tools and information you need to vote. 

Voters can use our nonpartisan voters’ guide, Vote411.org. Vote411 is a  one-stop-shop to check your voter registration status, meet candidates, learn about upcoming debates and forums and find local polling places or ballot drop boxes. 

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania also has a pre-recorded virtual candidate forum, viewable at the candidate forum. 

All candidates for the offices of U.S. senator for Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania governor and lieutenant governor were invited to participate in a pre-recorded interview. These interviews are designed to help Pennsylvania voters better understand their candidates’ policy priorities. 

Vote informed, and make your voice heard on May 17! Contact the League at info@palwv.org or 717/234-1576.

Meg Pierce

Executive director, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania 

Cutting off public comment

I watched the planning, real property and economic development committee meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature on May 5, and was listening to Ken Walter’s public comment with interest. He had made some excellent comments in the previous meetings; most notable for me was that the county board of election’s enthusiasm for consolidation of polling places was antithetical to democracy because it would prevent a lot of people from voting, especially people without transportation. Ken attends every legislative meeting and sometimes voices opinions that illuminate these meetings which, when animated, usually sound like a Sopranos rerun. Ken was explaining a study he had undertaken to see how many Sullivan residents are receiving Medicaid now versus pre-pandemic, when his microphone was suddenly cut off.

The legislature had voted some months ago to limit public comment to three minutes, and the clerk was tasked with enforcing it.  She had performed this unenviable duty previously by giving warning that time was about to elapse, at which time the person speaking could politely request additional time, which was usually granted as a courtesy. This time there was no warning, and some legislators objected. The chairman of the legislature told the legislators that they had voted for this (which they had not) and he was not the chairman of this committee, who alone is empowered to determine whether to grant additional time to speak.

It was just rude and disrespectful to cut off the speech of this venerable 81-year-old retired teacher who had spent the time to research his topic, spent the money to make copies to distribute his findings, and who was attempting to educate our legislators about the reduced living conditions of their own constituents. It’s painful to watch these meetings and it’s a damn shame.

Lise Kennedy

Neversink, NY

Start a pollinator garden

A leader in the Pollinator Pathway movement pointed out how we used to want only one thing from our gardens: that they be pretty.  Now they must support life, sequester carbon and feed pollinators.

If you’d like to see how to begin such a garden, come to the Gardiner Library on Friday, May 13, beginning at 11 a.m.

Then, if you’d like to start your own pollinator garden, or just add to what you already have, come to the pollinator plant sale on Saturday, May 21 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., also at the Gardiner Library.

Doris Chorny

Wallkill, NY

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