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Gov. Corbett Taking Away Protections

Dear Editor,

In the span of less than two months, Gov. Corbett has repealed three regulations intended to protect our state parks, our forests and finally our air quality. Any one of these actions alone should be considered reckless and shortsighted, together I find them outrageous.

The most reckless of the group is the attack upon our forests, the largest contiguous hardwood forest left on the eastern seaboard, once this is broken up, it's gone for good. The Department of Conservation in 2010 stated "no additional surface disturbance can occur without significantly altering the ecological integrity and wild character of our state forest system," so instead of imposing a modest tax, Mr. Corbett would destroy a true jewel forever.

On an even more troubling note The New York Times has reported on waste water being sent to treatment facilities incapable of handling it, as well as radiation levels in this waste hundreds of times above EPA guidelines. Of everything I've read about the Marcellus gas play, this article is the most frightening, I urge all to read it.

All of us can give witness to the gradual deterioration of our environment due to this gas boom and we do not have to look all that far to see damage done in previous times from unregulated coal mining. There will be no second chances, we either manage this gas boom in an intelligent manner with an eye to future generations or our legacy will be Gasland.

I urge everyone to take a look at the legislation being introduced by State Senator Jim Ferlo, which will strengthen the Oil and Gas Act, also the federal legislation commonly known as "The Frack Act." It is also past time that a reasonable tax plan be enacted that fulfills the needs of the local governments as well as those of the Commonwealth.

The largest players don't even pay taxes at the corporate rate because of rules governing L.L.C's, couple that with billions invested by foreign owned companies, which guarantees that some of this money won't even stay in America. This, in addition to robust stock prices and you have nothing more than a corporate give-away. It may be necessary to consider a moratorium on all new well permits. The issues I feel are perhaps more complex than we realized at first and run a gamut from traffic jams to catastrophic environmental damage to our very nation's security.

The actions that our political leaders take now will have consequences that will last for decades and we must be aware that some of these decisions once implemented cannot be undone. We have an opportunity to help this country become more energy self-sufficient, to foster economic growth for ourselves and generations to come, let us do this in a way that protects our environment for these future generations and shows how exceptional Americans really are.

To do anything less is to fail.

William Earnest

Laceyville

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