2017-03-04 / Viewpoints


Democrats Plan To Reorganize

Dear editor:

There is no formally organized Democratic Committee in Potter County. As a Potter County native, I have a huge interest in changing that.

Barry Hayman and myself are the two moderators of a Facebook site, “Potter Co. Democratic Party.” Laura Sypien had been the group moderator until she moved out of the state, at which time she handed over control of this group to us. Laura was also the Democratic State Committee representative for Potter County.

For the past four years, I’ve been the chair of the Elk County Democratic Committee and am highly involved with the Democratic Party at the state and regional level.

With the help of long-time Potter County chair Norma Nichols, we’d like to help get Potter County reorganized in 2017. Part of that will be to identify people interested in serving as committee officers -- chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer -- as well as finding someone to replace Laura as state committee representative.

In addition, the county party is officially made up of one committeeman and one committeewoman representing each voting precinct in the county.

The sooner that Potter County’s Democrats can be organized, the more influence we can have on the November Municipal Election and the better we can prepare for 2018.

Rich Schweikart
Elk County

Stop Gas Drilling

Dear editor:

Fifteen years ago, as the director of a local nonprofit, I switched our office building from electrical baseboard heat (which likely relied on polluting coal-burning power plants), to propane, a by-product of natural gas.

Many others did likewise and the boom was on as companies mobilized to capture that bounty of shale gas, touted as a “bridge fuel” to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, even by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama.

Unfortunately, our hopes have been dashed by nearly 800 peer-reviewed studies which show that, not only does hydrofracturing shale layers have widespread negative impacts on the health of many who live near the drilling sites, but these sites are releasing methane directly into the atmosphere, contributing to the acceleration of climate change.

To be clear, methane burns relatively cleanly; it is the hydrofracturing process itself that leads to the release of methane into the air and it is the contamination of water and air by that process that contributes to ill effects.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society’s 300-person governing board voted unanimously in October to call for a moratorium on further development of shale gas through hydrofracturing in our state due to the preponderance of evidence of the health impacts on our population.

This means existing drilling sites can continue to operate, but no new sites would be developed while the political powers have an opportunity to assess the evidence from the medical and scientific experts.

It is time for lawmakers to protect the common welfare of our people and the planet.

A growing number of religious, scientific, medical and environmental communities in our state agree that a moratorium on further development of shale gas hydrofracturing needs to be implemented so all stakeholders can assess where we go from here.

Rev. Cynthia Crowne

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