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Issue Home December 15, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Dimock Update

I have had a chance to review the publicly available well testing data from the PADEP's gas migration investigation (please note that I do not have the data for the sampling that PADEP conducted at the end of September). Additionally, the non litigants, including myself, with affected wells finally got to meet with Secretary Hanger and staff on November 3. Here are some of my comments and opinions after reviewing the data and meeting the PADEP.

The well plugging activities performed by Cabot under the PADEP consent order have caused a dramatic reduction in methane and metals on the upper Carter Road corridor (by upper I mean towards the Brooklyn Dimock Road). For example, one well on Carter Road at one time had 5 mg/l of iron, which is excessively high. The action level is .3 mg/l. The associated methane level at that time (Feb. 2010) was 19.9 mg/l. After well plugging activities were completed in April, this iron level has now dropped to .031 mg/l and the methane is now non-detect (sample results from Aug. 31, 2010). Even with the significant progress shown on upper Carter Road, there are still residences with high methane levels. One area is the Meshoppen Creek Road where I live. My methane has averaged about 25 mg/l throughout the past year. I now have a methane treatment system which has reduced my methane to below 1 mg/l. A 1 micron hydroglass filter and ozonator are the final steps in my treatment which disinfects and removes metals. I have outstanding water quality.

It is also important to note that there is still a significant methane problem at the lower end of Carter Road (the end towards the Dimock to Nicholson Road). There are three residences there with significant methane levels. On Nov. 3, after some prodding by one of my neighbors, the PADEP finally agreed to meet with the non litigants with affected water supplies (only after we found out about another secret meeting with John Hanger and the litigants). During that meeting, Mr. Scott Perry with the PADEP insisted that the methane migration must stop. I agree. Significant progress has been made in one portion of the affected area, but we have two more areas to go. Unfortunately, a water line will not stop methane migration.

Since there are currently 9 properties on which wells have been reconditioned, treated, or a new well drilled and significant progress has been shown on Carter Road, shouldn't PADEP focus on learning from those efforts and devising remedial efforts that are more timely and responsible than the ill-advised pipeline project? By the way, my treated well water is of much higher quality than Montrose water. Enough, Already!, say no to the water line.


Loren Salsman

Dimock, PA

Don’t Heed The Crying Man

Just from reading letters in the Transcript, it's clear that Glenn Beck has convinced a lot of similarly crazy people that we're in the midst of a titanic clash of civilizations between Real, Patriotic Americans and Evil Progressives (who deliberately seek to louse everything up).

Well, Beck is partly correct. There is a civilizational clash going on. Only it's Puritans vs. Everybody Else. He calls everybody else "Progressive." And he has no idea he's a Puritan. Today's Puritans are up to the same churlish troublemaking they wrought in 17th century England - before they lost, left England, and carried on the same fight here. They've been a sporadic menace ever since, and they're agitating again.

With the Rightist propensity for parroting, Beck has managed to redefine the word "Progressive" as something intrinsically evil, a deviation from the indisputable perfection of the idealized past. Hey, weren't the grousers satisfied with turning "Liberal" into an obscenity? Well, they only taint words, but the perspective they allude to remains, and we're proud of it. And we don't need the approval of Beck or his psittacoid acolytes.

Beck's thinking "refudiates" any benefit to progress and renders the whole notion illegitimate. But to deny progress is to deny America itself! America was founded by progressives! Rather than unprogressively clinging to the tried and "true" (monarchy), they tried something that hadn't been done before. And that they wanted progress to continue is obvious from the fact they instituted an Amendment process. But now we see the Beckish seriously suggesting we undo the progress of the past. Such folly! That won't return you to Utopia, folks. There never was Utopia, and there never will be. And any attempt by fallible men to create Utopia will inevitably produce a Dystopia instead. I don't know about you, but I have no desire to live in Glenn Beck's bizarro parody of Old America.


Stephen Van Eck

Lawton, PA

Fair Market?

My wife and I were fortunate to be able to spend Thanksgiving at my late mother-in-law’s condo in Naples Florida. Florida, as you might know, is in much worse financial shape than (even) PA. Unemployment is running near twelve percent and the housing market in something like the second or third worst in the country. You can’t sell a house down here.

In November, the residents of Florida elected Rick Scott (R) as their new governor. As he constitutes his economic council in preparation to take office, he has chosen some of the most influential economists available, notably Art Laffer, Donna Arduin and Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute. These people are well qualified and served under Ronald Reagan, George Pataki and Jeb Bush. They are supply side economists who believe in and have participated in conservative governments.

Here in Naples, in the November 28 edition of the Naples Daily News, there was an article on this change in economic direction. In the article, there is a quotation from the chairman of the Collier County Democratic Party as follows, when expressing concern that the new administration will have Florida become a laboratory for free-market conservatives: “That’s what we’re afraid of most, to be honest with you. Most of the state, our population, should be very concerned. Free market is not fair market.”

Duh. A free market is a capitalist market. Merit, hard work and innovation rule. A fair market is a socialist market. Mediocrity and bureaucracy rule. Winston Churchill once said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the uneven division of blessings, while the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal division of misery.” What form of government do you want to leave for your grandkids?


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA

Beware The Flying Monkeys

I was out enjoying the season, and stopped for a hot-toddy to brace me for the wind-chill, and listened in on a gathering of like minded folks who were lamenting how politics are being played out. It seems they are beginning to understand just how things happen in a place, where for the most part, no one outside of the place knew they were there. Families who were original to the place had set the rules and caste, and everyone just followed.

Then it became 1849 again. Not for gold, but oil and gas. No one outside the place realized that gas and oil were already in the west of the state since 1859, I believe the company name is Pennzoil. Anyway, further south, in the land of smog and money, the big pumba got a smell of the gas wafting from the north, and pulled out a map to see where in Penn's-woods was this smell coming from. The flying monkeys were sent. The trouble with flying monkeys are that they are an emissary of sorts, and by nature, can play either side. A good flying monkey can make things happen, why sometimes just the sight of a flying monkey can inspire fear or awe. Now, they start to ask things.

How does one get to the pumba? And who is the pumba? Have there always been flying monkeys around? And, how can we get the flying monkeys to be an emissary for us? Well, the way to get a flying monkey to help you, is for you to have something to help the monkey. Not all of the flying monkeys want bananas, they strive for something more, things that are more intangible, like power that is behind the scenes, money market accounts in Switzerland, and a helicopter for when the wings get tired. They also like to be popular, so a word of praise spoken in public, and a well placed vote is sure to get their attention. I guess the results are largely based on who gets to the flying monkeys first.

Sadly, this group did not get there first. No, don't feel bad for them, as they have every chance to get the flying monkeys, if they stick to the topic and do not deviate from it, no matter how scary the monkeys seem. All flying monkeys have a shelf date. For sure every four years. The trick I suppose is patience, and a clear agenda. Folks who want to change things go bearing gifts of bananas, not flaming torches. That could be the trouble with the group there, the flying monkeys were already making friends with another group of people from another town, and no one knew the efforts of the other. That is really the shame of it, both groups want to do the right thing, according to what "team flying monkey" they are on. Both groups of people would like to see prosperity, and drinking water available to all the folks here in Penn's-Woods. What they didn't realize until recently, is that the flying monkeys have an agenda of their own.

Tis true. Flying monkeys play a game of divide and conquer. One can become confused easily when one sees flying monkeys, and promises for the good times. I find it hard for me to go one way or the other, and I'm not even a commissioner. I do know that having a hot-toddy, or two, is probably the best way to be in this conversation.

I guess one never knows how one will behave until one has experience with the flying monkeys, and trust me, they never thought a people from a place outside of Oz would dare question the big pumba, or the flying emissary that they thought would inspire fear. Instead the big pumba sits waiting, like a spider, until the swearing in.

That is when I hope this group will have a clear, and one trick-pony agenda.

I hope they understand the politics of it, and vote in one level-headed person as spokes-person, one who can stand courageous in the face of flying monkeys.

And with that, I had to leave. It was dark, and I too, have to look for flying monkeys.


Cynthia Allen

Summersville, PA

The Lion Roars: Part II

A loaf of bread, $62; two pounds of sugar, $24; a can of coffee, $78: examples of price hikes that the National Inflation Association predicts for the U.S. within the next five to ten years. Impossible, you say, it can't happen. Not only can it happen, it is happening.

During the last two months commodity prices of orange juice rose 17 percent, soybeans by 29 percent, corn is up 29 percent, sugar increased 51 percent, and cotton rose 54 percent. Prices haven't yet trickled down to the supermarkets and clothing stores, but they will.

And when they do, hyper-inflated prices can slam into the economy with the force of a typhoon.

The phenomenon of hyperinflation is far from rare. Rhodesia was once the star in the crown of Africa. A revolution changed that. Robert Mugabe was elected president of the newly-formed state of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia. He initiated a series of social programs designed to help his fellow Africans. He paid for it with printing-press money. Nevertheless, his policies worked. Soon everyone in Zimbabwe became a billionaire. But there was a catch. A loaf of bread cost 16 billion of their dollars.

In 2008, Zimbabwe's inflation climbed to an inconceivable 515 quintillion percent. That's 515 followed by 18 zeros. What was once the bread basket of Africa is now the basket case of Africa. Hyperinflation does that.

Several examples of hyperinflation could be pointed out in South America; the most notable is Argentina.

In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Socialism changed that. In a desperate effort to meet its debt obligations, Argentina resorted to the printing press. Massive inflation of 5,100 percent followed in 1989.

To control inflation and restore faith in the peso, Argentina pegged its peso to the dollar. But it continued its spending ways. Then a recession, an increase in the interest rate of the dollar, and consequently the interest rate of Argentina's debt obligations, brought inflation back with a vengeance. It went from 4 percent in 2002 to 41 percent the following year.

Uncontrolled government spending, debt, a recession, and rising interest rates devastated the nation. It still has not recovered. Inflation continues to rage at 15 percent.

Zimbabwe and Argentina are cautionary tales.

Spendaholics, whether individuals or nations, eventually go broke. The U.S. deficit - the amount of money the government spends over and above its yearly tax receipts - is $1.3 trillion for this year. The government borrows this money by selling IOUs called Treasuries.

The total amount of debt accumulated in government IOUs is $14 trillion. If the debt obligations of social security and Medicare are included, the debt is more than $100 trillion. Clearly, we're trodding in the footsteps of Zimbabwe and Argentina.

To his credit, President Obama created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to address the monetary crisis. The Commission's goal was to reduce the percentage of debt compared to the Gross Domestic Product from its current 94 percent to 60 percent by 2020.

The austerity that the Commission called for would have cut deeply into social programs and military spending. Several European nations forced to make similar budgetary cuts experienced social unrest; Greece and France had riots.

But the Commission's work was for naught. It could not get a majority of its 18 members to approve forwarding its recommendations to Congress. The inevitable was postponed.

The dollar walks the high wire. It titters between the twin disasters of inflation and deflation. Some say we're leaning dangerously toward inflation, others are convinced its deflation. Both sides are armed with statistics. Who's right?

It may be a moot question. The end result of deflation or inflation is the same: a massive devaluation of the dollar, prices increasing daily, and double-digit unemployment. In a word, depression, or as it may be called, the Greatest Depression.

But surely, it can't happen here, not in the United States. The “almighty dollar” cannot sink. Neither could the Titanic.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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