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Issue Home May 19, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Gratifying To See

I want to thank the Susquehanna residents, businesses and postal employees who pitched in to make the May 8, 2010 National Rural Letter Association and National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive an overwhelming success. It is gratifying to see the community and the Susquehanna Postal Team work together to re-stock the local food pantry shelves and feed the needy.

Since 1775, the Postal Service has connected friends, families, neighbors and businesses by mail. We recognize the world and the mailing business is changing, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to community.

The food donations that we collected on May 8 say a lot about the community’s generosity and reflects your confidence in our ability to deliver in kind. The success of the “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive on May 8 is yet another example of the spirit, tradition and commitment to service that our employees provide Susquehanna, and this nation, each and every day of the year.


Liese Stein, OIC

Susquehanna, PA

Reality Is Outgunned

A common sign at recent rallies is "Obama: Hands Off My Gun" or some variation thereof. There's a common belief in the Far Right that there's a spate of gun control measures in the works, even an imminent threat of total confiscation. This simply is not the case. Fact is, the Obama Administration has done absolutely nothing in the area of gun control, except for allowing people to carry guns in National Parks, something the NRA wanted. Obama gets solid F's from gun control organizations. Yet we have these paranoid delusions and scurrilous insinuations anyway.

This underscores what I've been saying for a long time: The NRA and relevant groups strive to keep people in a constant panic about guns not because of any real threat, but because they're using guns as a wedge to promote a comprehensive right-wing agenda. And some people are paranoid and stupid enough to fall for it.

How healthy is it to allow delusion a place at the policymaking table? About as healthy as getting shot in the head by the gun kept in your own home. That's a real problem that occurs all the time, but apparently it's an acceptable price to pay to keep people from getting over-antsy about "gun rights." Human sacrifice at the altar of gun idolatry.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA 18828

Let’s Work The Bugs Out

The time has come for us Americans who care about our country to put aside our differences and find common ground with this natural disaster in the Gulf.

Some say it is not natural, some say blame BP and make them pay. Some are just worried about their livelihoods, how are they going to make a living now. Some say (oh our white sand beaches), how can we help?!

My biggest worry is, as a country we are vulnerable to attack by some other country. I am sure some of you are saying throw the bum out, you're crazy; but if you look at it, some of our country’s food supply is being destroyed, our country’s oil is faltered and it has everyone in a tissy.

I have always said if the farmers are gone our country would be in danger of attack; no food, no work, no control. Right now is a critical time in our country. It is so very important to pull together as a country. Everyone knows someone. Everyone knows how to do something good. Everyone has different ideas of how to do things their way, but in the end I am sure we all will do what is right for our country, the United States of America.

Like protect our water, protect our food - protect our people. I say drill new gas wells now, build new gas powered truck engines and locomotives to haul freight, restore the confidence that we have in each other and work together - a check and balance of each others nitch. Do the renewables, plant the special corn for ethanol so as not to use the food grade corn for it. Plant sugar cane where the tobacco used to grow, make biodiesel. Build a methane digester at all natural gas drill sites, turn that deadly methane gas into a good product and generate electricity instantly, clean up the methane at the coal mines and build turbine generators to make the deadly gas useful, capture it and use it. The stock market reflects a low side of the natural gas price now; that is good for both the consumer (it makes the price to use it less) and it is good for the investor who now has opportunity to buy into the down stock and allow your money to grow the industry. However it is not good for the companies to keep it down so low, so long. We all need to prosper so let’s work this low stock market like it needs to be worked. Come on Pat, speculate!

Gas drilling in our area is in the shale but by now the drillers have worked the bugs out of this new form of eastern shale and it is safer. Give them a chance! Allow the pipelines to be built and drill as many gas wells as possible, get the pads built now, roads and infrastructure built now, just in case; just in case we suddenly need it for power, just in case we as a country can make money on it by using "oil" only for lubrication instead of fuel. Use natural gas to turn the turbines to make electricity instantly, along with coal.

Seems we have forgotten how terrible a war could be, like WW2, how every American pitched in, the young people enlisted to fight to save the world, the shop owners put women to work making cloth, the steel mills hired many men who could not fight yet were willing to work to save the world. Farmers planted more. Food was rationed, and we all cut back to help with the war effort. Savings bonds were offered to put American money into Americans hands.

I can only hope that the many people who read this all the way through understand just what kind of dire straights America could be in. I am asking all of you who want to read and want to speak their mind and still feel that we have time to save our water, save our food, and save our country by taking your little nitch in life and banding together with our friends here in northeastern PA, to go to meetings like DRB (Delaware River Basin), SRB (Susquehanna River Basin), rail to trail meetings or township meetings and ask how you can help work the bugs out. Most of the people who will read this know how to read and write and can use their words, pro and con for the betterment of our great country. Whether you agree with me or not, try to channel negativity into a positive, useful tool.

The dairy farmers are at their wits end but they still milk the cows. We need to fight together now, whether we agree with each other’s opinions or not. We need to hang tough and I am sure our country and our world will be safe and secure.

Let’s take this time to join together to prevent the water from being contaminated, let’s use our knowledge to provide work for the needy and sink the gas wells for power, to power our country and clean up the world’s problems while we're at it. United we Stand!


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

April 22; Armageddon Day

One hundred barrels a day, then 5,000, upped again to 20,000; now some estimate it is 60,000 barrels of crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Just how bad is that? The Exxon Valdez leaked 10 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound, Alaska. That's equivalent to 238,000 barrels. At the current rate of outflow, the Gulf of Mexico undersea gusher will equal one Exxon Valdez every four days.

And it could get worse. How much worse? Imagine what you will, you're not even close.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig was drilling over a mile of water down into three miles of mud and shale. Using cutting-edge drilling technology, British Petroleum (BP) was tapping into what may be the largest deposit of oil and gas ever discovered. It covers an area of 25,000 square miles and contains tens of millions of gallons of oil and gas.

But the enormous petro reservoir is sealed in a pressure cooker under an astronomical 170,000 psi. Punching a hole into this is like playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature. Usually things work out, but...

Sometimes they don't.

BP, working on the outer limits of technology, decided to drill at the edge of the formation to leak off the pressure into something controllable. But on April 20, they hit a pocket of high-pressure methane gas. It blasted through the blow-out preventer, up the riser pipe leading into the drilling rig, and caused an explosion. Eleven men died.

Then, on April 22, Earth Day, another explosion sent the $350 million oil platform 5,000 feet down to the Gulf floor. As the rig descended it bent and twisted the riser pipe. Three massive leaks developed.

The oil and gas shooting out through the leaks in the riser pipe are under titanic pressure. The pressurized mixture of crude, sand, and shale roaring through the pipe act as a powerful sandblaster. If that pipe is worn through, there will be nothing to stop an uncontrolled blowout.

BP estimated an uncontrolled blowout could reach 200,000 barrels per day. Roughly, that's an Exxon Valdez every day.

To forestall this disaster, BP is now drilling two relief holes (one as a backup). The relief holes must drill through three miles of rock, then turn horizontally for one mile to connect to the original drill hole and seal it off. But that will take three months. It's doubtful that the riser pipe will last that long.

Meanwhile, ocean currents are carrying the oil along the western coast of Florida. In a few days it will round the peninsula, travel up the eastern coast, and enter the open-ocean waters of the Gulf Stream.

Ninety-five percent of this oil is in the form of an unrecoverable, paper-thin sheen covering the water. This slick partially blocks sunlight from reaching phytoplankton, tiny plants that manufacture 90 percent of the earth's oxygen. These marine plants also form the basis of the ocean's food chain. The implications of this are unfathomable.

Couple this with the highly toxic effects of crude: one gallon of oil will render one million gallons of water unfit for fish or wildlife.

Novel measures are being employed to avoid the situation from becoming completely out-of-hand.

BP is constructing 100-ton, four-story high steel and concrete boxes to be fitted over each leak. The hope is that the internal pressure of the oilfield will force the oil in the containment box through a pipe, then 5,000 feet to the surface to be stored. If this strategy is successful, most of the oil will be captured. Will the caps work? No one knows. It's never been done under the crushing pressure of one mile of water. It's called, “cap and pray.”

As for what has already escaped, typically only 10 to 15 percent will be recovered.

Of the ten million gallons of crude that the Exxon Valdez spilled in Prince William Sound 20 years ago, eight million gallons are still there on the bottom of the Sound and soaked into 1,500 miles of coastline. At best, it paints a grim picture for the Gulf Coast and Florida.

And if those 100-ton caps are not effective, it paints a grim picture for the entire planet.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Riding On A Train

Are you still scratching your head regarding the actions of our current administration and congress? Wonder why we are spending ourselves into oblivion? Trying to figure out why we are enacting gigantic entitlement programs when we haven’t figured out how to pay for the ones which are already on the books? Can’t understand why there is no legislation to facilitate business profitability and hiring? Trying to envision where this is all going to end up? There is a reason for all the murk and obfuscation. That reason is that the politicians in power have an agenda which they are not sharing with us. The national media and network television stations are only telling you what has happened (events). They are not remotely trying to share with you where those events are taking us. It is akin to riding on a train and looking out the window. You know where you have been and where you are but you haven’t the faintest idea where you are going.

There is a source that you can utilize which, unlike most media, looks carefully at the players involved in the direction of our country. That source, unlike our leaders, is committed to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, to the small federal government set out by our Founding Fathers, to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Equal Justice not Social Justice. The achievement of Happiness is our responsibility, not the Federal Government’s. That source examines the players involved, their words and actions and their goals - not by speculation but by playing the videos and tapes in their own words. I am not going to reveal that source to you. Most of you know of whom I speak. For the rest of you - ask around, surf your television channels and when you figure it out, make a commitment to pay attention for at least two weeks. It will take you that long to get up to speed. If, at the end of two weeks, you think this is all trash, so be it. It is your choice (at least so far). It is out there but you must expend the effort to locate it.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA

Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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