NARROWSBURG, NY — Among the status updates presented at the Thursday, September 2 meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) was an update on early-stage discussions about the Ten Mile River …
NARROWSBURG, NY — Among the status updates presented at the Thursday, September 2 meeting of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) was an update on early-stage discussions about the Ten Mile River Scout Camp (TMR).
Bill Rudge, a natural resources supervisor with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), said that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) had approached the DEC and several other entities for assistance in generating revenue from TMR. One option discussed was the possibility for the state of New York to purchase some of the land that makes up the camp.
The BSA were still committed to running a Boy Scout camp on the TMR land, said Rudge, and all of the entities in discussion for purchase of the land understood and accepted that condition.
Talks were still in their early stages, and Rudge could not give more details at that time.
UDC Executive Director Laurie Ramie said that she was glad to have the discussions confirmed.
There had been rumors about the talks, Ramie said, but those rumors had been conflated with seperate talks between the BSA and the National Park Service for the purchase of the TMR River Access.
A recent settlement plan reached between the BSA and law firms representing former Scouts, who were allegedly molested, calls for $850 million to paid into a fund for survivors, with $250 million coming from the national Boy Scouts and $600 million coming from local councils, as reported by Claims Journal (full article at www.bit.ly/2WROI8v).
The need to pay this settlement could be a contributing factor in the BSA’s need to generate revenue from TMR, though Rudge did not mention it as such.
The UDC discussed a recent letter sent from the Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS) to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). As previously reported by the River Reporter, the letter claims PennDOT was ignoring public comments submitted without a survey concerning the Milanville-Skinners Falls Bridge project.
Ramie said that she could not verify whether the claims made in the letter were accurate. In her view, the letter put PennDOT on notice, paving the way for legal action if comments were ultimately ignored.
“I certainly felt that my opinion was asked for,” said UDC Chairperson Jeffery Dexter. He had sent comments via email and letter, and would be quite concerned if PennDOT did not accept them.
UDC vice-chairperson Susan Sullivan echoed Dexter’s concern. It had nowhere been stated that comments needed to be sent together with a survey, she said.
The council discussed reaching out to state representatives on the Pennsylvania side, including Sen. Baker (R-20) and Rep. Fritz (R-111), asking them to put pressure on PennDOT.
For comments PennDOT recently provided to the River Reporter, see https://riverreporter.com/stories/insist-on-being-heard,47614.
The UDC also heard a presentation from Gregory Wrightstone, a geologist with extensive experience in various oil and energy companies and the current executive director of the CO2 Coalition.
The presentation, titled “Global warming: the cold hard facts,” claimed that CO2 was beneficial to the earth, and that current efforts to reduce CO2 emissions were misguided.
Wrightstone did not deny that CO2 levels were increasing, nor that global temperatures were increasing. He held that the correlation between the two did not imply causation, that current climate science cherry-picked facts to suit its narrative and that increased levels of CO2 were responsible for a number of historical benefits.
Warmer weather led to peaks in human civilizations, said Wrightstone, while colder weather led to dark ages and to the burning of witches. He said that rising CO2 levels had led to an agricultural boom over recent centuries, and that “The earth is thriving and prospering.”
UDC member Andy Boyar asked Wrightstone whether the agricultural boom he cited could be better explained by advances in agricultural practices than through rising CO2 levels; “If you’re accusing people of cherry-picking, you have done a mighty fine job yourself.”
Wrightstone’s case for warmer weather leading to peaks in human civilization had similar issues with cherry-picking; a chart he provided claimed both the Archaic and Classical Greek periods as belonging to the Dark Ages, together with the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.
Sullivan asked Wrightstone whether he received funding from the fossil fuel industry; he said that it was “verboten” to disclose the CO2 Coalition’s funding sources, that organization being a non-profit.
According to investigative organization DeSmog, the CO2 Coalition receives funding from the Mercer Family Organization and a number of Koch-related foundations (see www.desmog.com/co2-coalition/ for more information).