What will we leave them?

The iconic trees of northern PA have been removed but their roots, and the pathways between them, remain.While too many of us are focused on the latest Trumpian tweets, there is at least one Election Day contest worthy of note right here at home. There are several of them, actually, but our gubernatorial contest is a good example of the choices we face as we move toward handing the Commonwealth to our grandkids.

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A fair share of the profits

Marcellus drill rig in Loyalsock State ForestIn another life, another state, Mom came home one afternoon and told me about a van parked beside the road a couple hundred yards from our driveway. You notice things like that out in the country, where no one lives except you. You cannot pretend the vehicle might belong to someone visiting your neighbor because you don’t have any neighbors. Not within walking distance of the parked van, anyway.

So I went out to look around, and discovered someone had been using a hand saw to cut birch trees into four-foot logs, then loading them into the van and selling them at the mill in town, for about $70 a cord, where they would be sliced into veneer to cover particle board bedroom furniture and make it look expensive.Read more

Report: Lawmakers’ poor environmental performance

Long Pine Reservoir.Three conservation organizations have released their 2014 environmental scorecard, giving Pennsylvania lawmakers poor grades for protecting the environment in which we all live.

Place the right industry near the creek and the effect of all that work is gone.

The report had been delayed to await the results of a Senate vote on a House initiated bill that essentially makes voluntary previously mandatory requirements that developers protect the state’s high value waterways as they pursue corporate profits. The Senate approved, and as I write this the bill awaits the signature of Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Marcellus, to turn it into law.Read more

Judge’s finger on sunshine switch

A juge will decide whether Right To Know applies to government-based lobbyists.A Bloomsburg author’s challenge to a township agency’s claim of immunity to the state Right To Know law is in the hands of a Cumberland County judge. After about an hour of discussion, Judge Kevin A. Hess said he would “take it under advisement,” without specifying a possible time for a ruling. Read more

Promised Land: The popcorn was great.

Another pipeline path cuts across Loyalsock State ForestThe hype made it out to be a movie about frackers coming to a small Pennsylvania town, population 880, and buying up leases from unsuspecting farmers. And then …

The “and then” was a little unclear, even in the trailers, but there was considerable implication there would be conflict of some sort. Alas …

As the story begins, Read more

Planet Earth – our home, if we can keep it

The just ended election dealt, in part, with Lincoln’s economic formula. At least environmentally, the question seemed focused on whether “new beginners” were to be given a chance or whether their efforts would be stymied by the efforts of financially successful technologies to protect their treasure. Somewhere deep inside most of us – 98-percenters andRead more

Author sues townships organization for access to public information

In spite of publicity in recent years about state agencies being made more transparent, there remain plenty of road blocks to acquiring information which seemingly should be public. Such a situation faced Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania-based author and social issues journalist Walter M. Brasch earlier this year. “I was needing information for a book I was workingRead more

Exploitation without conservation: a recipe for disaster

I love traveling. I enjoy meeting people in a variety of places, with different manners of talking and thinking. Though sometimes there aren’t as many differences as one might think. A friend turned 40 a few years ago, nearly at the top of Engineer Pass, just outside and way above Ouray, CO. I was drivingRead more

Letter to Obama

My son used to tell untruths. Sometimes he’d even say he hadn’t done a thing I’d just stood there watching him do. But he’s all grown up and haired over – except that place on his head where you could draw a map of Alaska and not mess up any follicles. OK, maybe a mapRead more

DCNR on its way to being DR

A bill in the Pennsylvania legislature has conservationists on high alert. House Bill 2224, some fear, will open the way to sale of public lands without the normal path through the courts. All they would have to do is declare the “parks, squares or similar uses and public buildings … no longer necessary or practicable.”Read more

Adequate DEP funding should be budget priority

A truck crash dumped “minor amounts of petroleum fluids” into Pine Creek, in Lycoming County. That’s important where I live because Pine Creek, at the southern edge of a heavily drilled natural gas field, flows into the Susquehanna River, which runs past Harrisburg and the City of York, in its way to the Chesapeake Bay.Read more

Electricity-water “collisions” becoming increasingly frequent

“Electricity-water collisions” is a term that’s reportedly been around a couple years, but it hasn’t had much attention. Summer 2012 may change that. According to a post by a Union of Concerned Scientist’s senior climate and energy analyst, Erika Spanger-Siegfried, “Our electricity system, it turns out, wasn’t built for summers like 2012, and it showed.”Read more

Courts to rule on fracking regs

Citing a lack of regulations to complain about, a U.S. District Court judge Monday ruled against a requirement for a full environmental review of fracking in the Delaware River Basin. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania townships await a ruling by that state’s top court that may determine whether traditional municipal control over zoning applies to the controversial methodRead more

Coal, nukes, fracking and 16.9-ounce plastic bottles

Throughout this nation’s history, we have counted on a plentiful supply of water. With 75 percent of the Earth’s surface covered by water, goes the old adage, clearly man was meant to spend 75 percent of his time fishing. Unfortunately, with 75 percent of the planet covered by water, the majority of the Earth’s surface,Read more

Demand for electricity straining water supplies

The Chicago Tribune reported last week nuclear and coal-fired power plants along the Great Lakes have been granted waivers to release hotter-than-normal water into the lakes, causing fish to die or migrate to deeper, cooler locales. Plant operators say they need the waivers because shutting down the plants will cost them profits and make themRead more

EVs closing in, slowly, on their niche

Electric Vehicles are coming – as soon as the charging stations are built and the price comes down. They have the mirror image of the problem Marcellus Shale drillers having. Nissan Leaf  has sold about 1,400 of its all-electric LEAF so far this year, down about 70 percent from 2011 sales. The company only soldRead more

Nero plays while …

In the past couple weeks, the evening news has been occupied with obesity, Distracted Walking, and appropriate attire for women playing Olympic beach volleyball. NBC anchor Brian Williams had the first two items. For more than a week, aided by a steady parade of guest experts, he told us of the consequences of being obese.Read more

Appeals court says municipalities may tell frackers where to go

For years, Pennsylvania’s municipalities have held zoning power within their borders. As long as they provided a place within their borders for all legal land uses, they were allowed to tell developers of all stripe where to go. But fracking developers did not want township leaders deciding whether the wells would be allowed near aRead more

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