The Democratic Process Requires Well Informed Citizens


 Pennsylvania Constitution, Section 1, Article 27:       "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. "                                                          


Pennsylvania Constitution, 

Article 3, section 13:        "

 A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the general assembly shall disclose the fact to the House of which he or she is a member and shall not vote there on."         In fact,  Here is a link to an online copy of the Constitution of of the State of Pennsylvania (just so we have the facts absolutely correct and verifiable from an external source.).

November 18,2010   I don't even know what can be said about this clip.   Just watch it.....  I don't know how these people can be making decisions for the rest of us...

November 14, 2010

Who’s in charge now?

House Republicans have elected their leadership for the 2011-2012 session of the General Assembly as they return to majority status. Their slate features:

House Democrats, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats will select their new leaders next week

Open Letter to Our Elected Representatives:  This letter was originally sent to Senator McIlhinney on September 30th, 2010.
The response from the Senator to this particular letter has been appended at the end of the original letter. (and also the response to a form letter regarding the severance tax.)

September 30,2010

Senator McIlhinney,


I am most concerned about the Water Resources of Pennsylvania being contaminated by Reckless Behavior and Avoidable Negligence.

The North Eastern United States has an abundance of Clean Water, Natural Gas, Coal , Pristine Woodlands, Reasonably Clean Air and People.


These are the important things that need to be protected by the government and they each need to be protected from each other.

The Gas and the Coal should not be allowed to pollute the Farm Land, the Water or the Air.

The people should not be allowed to destroy the woods or create Superfund Industrial waste sites for others to either live next to, or clean up at great expense.


If, in 25 years, the gas can be extracted safely and burned cleanly, then the children of Pennsylvania will have something valuable and our generation can have something to be proud of.

If the Water is clean and available, and the animals and the fish still exist, and if there are still places for people to walk and feel clean and Peaceful, that will be Truly Valuable.


Paper money profits, Windfall State taxes and short term job creation is not the long term answer or even the short term answer.


Pennsylvania and especially the Delaware River Watershed needs to be protected.

If Natural Gas Drilling is unstoppable, then the Fracking fluid should not be allowed...  This is one option.


There should be a total Ban on drilling in the Delaware River Watershed.

The Water Supply for 17 Million people and the Ecosystem that supports it can not be put at risk.  Period.


If drilling must occur, let it happen outside the Delaware River Watershed and minimize the risk (no fracking fluid), Optimize the benefit (Severance tax) and Regulate and Clean the toxic waste that the drilling will produce.


It the roads need to be repaired or rebuilt because of the additional weight and traffic, the cost should be indirectly passed onto to the Shareholders of the Gas Corporations.

They can afford to make less profit and the truth is that they should have been required to build these external costs into their business models from the beginning.  That is the necessary expense portion of capitalism.


The same logic applies to the extra staffing and equipment required for Emergency Response Teams and the local Fire and Police departments to remain effective.  The Gas companies should pay for them.

If they don't want to pay for all of the costs associated with the drilling and removal of the gas,  the Natural Gas itself,and the cleanup,  then they don't have to drill here.

If they don't drill then the existing roads, and EMTs and the Volunteer Fire and Police departments  are staffed fine as they are, and there will be no cleanup required.


The gas can wait, and when a Responsible Corporation proposes a Reasonable, Fair and Safe plan to remove the gas, and can prove it, then a reasonable amount of permits could be issued.


A grid pattern that destroys the wildness should not be allowed. There must be some sort of compromise that allows minimal damage.

Maybe that answer is a minimal amount of wells strategically placed so that the least amount of damage is done.


From What I am hearing,  People are not necessarily against accessing the Natural Gas...They are Strongly against the contamination of the the Water and the destruction of their Quality of life.

They are Strongly against passing on a Massive Toxic Waste Site to the future Generations.


There are a lot of major problems that will need to be dealt with in the next 50 years.  We do not need to add another one.


I appreciate your support on these issues and I personally thankyou for the time it took you to read this message and the work that you are doing.

Best Regards

Here is the reply:

Thank you for your correspondence concerning the threat of our water resources being at risk of contamination by gas companies. I appreciate hearing from you regarding this very important issue.
As you know, I have been very involved with members of the General Assembly the past several years with the issue of gas drilling and how we move forward with continuing to protect the environment from contaminants. My goal is to do what is right for Pennsylvanians in protecting our natural water ways, farm land and sustaining the air quality.
With that said, I understand and agree that we need to strive towards banning drilling in the Delaware River Watershed and continue to advocate for the betterment of this Commonwealth so that the quality of life is continued in years to come.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about your thoughts on this very critical issue.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office if we can be of assistance with any state related matter.
Senator Chuck McIlhinney
10th Senatorial District
Bucks and Montgomery Counties

This was a reply to a more general form letter that was sent to the Senator regarding the Severance tax.

Thank you for contacting me regarding the issue of natural gas drilling operations and issues dealing with the Marcellus Shale. As you know, the General Assembly continues its debate and is reviewing proposals aimed at imposing a severance tax as well as a number of measures dealing with environmental impact, safety, zoning and integration of units (pooling).  I do support a severance tax on natural gas but that it is also critical to ensure the tax is used appropriately and that necessary regulations are in place to protect public health and the environment.  

 I have been closely involved in this issue over the past several years. While the legislature continues to debate the severance tax, I continue to adamantly advocate that a large portion of this funding be used for environmental programs statewide.  I strongly support using this funding for the Growing Greener program and feel that Pennsylvania needs to maintain its commitment to preserve the environment especially in light of the impact of natural gas drilling. 

 I have also stated that we need to ensure stronger safety requirements which include enhanced environmental and safety protections, including setbacks, water supply standards and increased well bond amounts.  And we need to increase transparency and accountability including public disclosure of violations, well completion reports and hydraulic fracturing components.

 I have also advocated strongly against forced pooling whereby landowners who refuse to sign a lease with a gas company are forced into an integration unit. I do not support this issue, and while I support the severance tax, I would vote against a tax proposal if it includes this provision. 

 Again, thank you for taking the time to write me about your thoughts on this very critical issue.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office if we can be of assistance with any state related matter.



Senator Chuck McIlhinney

10th Senatorial District

Bucks and Montgomery Counties                   This is Bucks County specific government information provided by the League of Women Voters.                                             This is the Webpage for only this is  Bucks County.                                                          This is the Webpage for all of Pennsylvania.
November 2010:
(D NY) Congressman Maurice Hinchey was re-elected in NY State.  This is good news for the those who wish to protect the Water and the Ecosystem of the Delware River Watershed.

Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett were elected in Pennsylvania...Clean Water and a secure Ecosystem are not on their list of priorities but they are now the elected representatives.  Massive Public concern will be needed to change their opinions. Even if they don't agree,  they need to uphold their Oath of office and act accordinly to protect the common resources of Pennsylvania from plunder and destruction.
Governor Rendell signs a moratorium on new drill leases on state land but there is a lot of drilling still going to occur on land that is already started and all of the Private lands..

Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets,  The Campaign Contributions and lobbying Expenditures of the natural Gas Industry in Pennsylvania (A document).                             Riverkeeper Municipal document....... This is what our elected officials should be following...                                                                                          Private citizens expect their local officials to take a lead role in preserving water quality and quantity. A 2005 survey1 of 1,000 voters nationwide identified local government as the entity that is the most or second most responsible for protecting clean water for communities. They believe that their local government should do more to address problems., a project of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania (CVPA) and Common Cause PA, tracks campaign contributions from natural gas industry PACs and executives to candidates for Pennsylvania state office.  

Today, released the gas contribution figures for gubernatorial candidates Dan Onorato and Tom Corbett from campaign finance reporting cycle 4, which covered the 97 days between June 7 to September 13, 2010.  If the Department of State releases the rest of the cycle 4 data as planned, should be updated with cycle 4 data for all candidates by October 20.  The following numbers reflect the data available at this time.

Download the data sheet here:

In cycle 4, Democratic candidate Dan Onorato received a total of $45,000 from the natural gas industry, an average of $463.91 per day.  During the first six months of 2010 (cycles 1, 2 & 3), Onorato received a total of $17,000, an average of $108.28 per day.  Onorato has received a total of $119,300 in reported contributions from the gas drilling industry in the last decade.   

In cycle 4, Republican candidate Tom Corbett received a total of $334,500, an average of $3448.45 per day.  During the first six months of 2010 (cycles 1, 2 & 3), Corbett received a total of $23,275.18, an average of $148.25 per day.  Corbett has received a total of $707,220.18 in reported contributions from the gas drilling industry in the last decade.   

If the Pennsylvania Senate fails to pass a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drillers today, it will be up to one of these two men to ensure that drilling is done cleanly, that drillers pay their fair share, and that local communities have the resources to deal with drilling’s impacts. Dan Onorato has a realistic plan to make drillers contribute to Pennsylvania ’s environmental and economic health with a severance tax. Tom Corbett refuses to consider a reasonable and responsible tax that every other gas producing state has already implemented.  

It is estimated that the severance tax recently passed out of the House of Representatives would raise approximately $316 million in 2011-12 and as much as $570 million by 2014-15 to support environmental protections, conservation programs and local communities.   

“Spending $707,220 on a gubernatorial candidate who promises to save you $570 million makes a lot of economic sense if you’re a gas driller – that’s a 80,000% return on investment,” Josh McNeil of CVPA said.  “But taxpayers in Pennsylvania should know that every dollar that drillers aren’t paying to clean up their own messes is a dollar that our citizens will soon have to pay instead.  For $3,448 a day, Tom Corbett may be a good investment for the drilling industry, but he’s a subprime mortgage for Pennsylvania ’s future.”

Drilling Fact of the Day

Seriously, how dumb do some members of the Pennsylvania Senate think we are?
The Senate Republican leaders are claiming they want to vote for a severance tax on drilling in the Marcellus Shale, but the Big Bad House messed it all up by passing an unconstitutional bill. They really want a bill, just not that bill.
The Legislative Reference Bureau – the nonpartisan group charged with drafting all legislation – basically said the Senate’s argument about constitutionality was garbage (except they said “selective”). In short, the bureau pointed out that the General Assembly does the same “gut and amend” action to pass bills all the time, just the way the House passed the severance tax – and no one objects. The bureau further pointed out a number of other bills that the Senate could use to pass a severance tax.
But no, not the Senate leadership. They want the House to come back and pass a brand new bill. And, by the way, it would have to be right away even though the House isn’t in this week, because the Senate leadership says they won’t let anymore votes happen for the entire year after Thursday.
These transparent stalling tactics are classic. The Senate leadership is trying to have to both ways, so their members can say they really did support a severance tax but the House didn’t get it right and their hands were tied.
And they think the voters – 80 percent of whom want the tax – won’t see this behavior as a gift to the drillers in gratitude for the millions the drillers have poured into campaign coffers and lobbyists this year.
Don’t let the drillers avoid paying their fair share through a substantial severance tax. Tell your Senator that you aren’t falling for this stalling game - it’s time to pass the tax NOW.

I am sorry to say that (R) Jim Cawley opposes the Severance tax and so does the Candidate for Governor Tom Corbett.   it would be good if people wrote to these men and persuaded them to change their positions on this topic.

30Sept2010 Subject:   Final Rulemaking - Oil and Gas Well Casing and Cementing (25 Pa Code, Chapter 78)The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has completed its preparation of the final regulations concerning Oil and Gas Well Casing and Cementing and has submitted the rulemaking to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) for consideration at the Board’s October 12, 2010, meeting. You may access the rulemaking package on DEP’s web site at: . Included in the rulemaking package is a comment/response document, which includes responses from the Department to all comments received on the rulemaking during the public comment period.  If you would like to receive a hard copy of the final rulemaking package, or if you have any questions concerning this rulemaking or any other regulatory initiative, please contact me at the telephone number or e-mail address provided below.        Michele Tate, Regulatory Coordinator, (717) 783-8727;

30Sept2010         The following letter was sent to the Army Corp of Engineers by (D NY) Congressman Maurice Hinchey

18Sept2010         This Letter is from the House of Representatives 31st District Representative (D) Steve Santarsiero to the Clean Water Action team.     Very Good Support.
29Sept2010         This Letter is from (R) Senator Chuck Mcilhinney

S.1215    The Frac Act is Sponsored by Senator Robert Casey (D-Pa) and 8 co-sponsors. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI), Diane Feinstein (D-Ca)Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY),  Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Charles Shumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
This is a very important piece of legislation that needs everyones Verbal and Written support.

Bill Wallace is a Candidate for State Senate (The 24th District - which includes Nockamixon Township).
Bill is on record in his support of clean water and rational Environmental regulation.

(R) Marguarite Quinn   (143rd District) voted for the Senate Bill 1155 (The Severance Tax) with the Green Ammendment by (R) from Montgomery Kate Harper.
These are local Representatives that supported the Severance tax with the condition that more of the money would need to be be designated to Environmental programs...  This is a site that discloses details about Campaign Finance.
It was sent to me by and so I have posted the details that they provided about Pat Toomey.
Pat Toomey received $158,000 from the Oil and Gas Industry.
By itself, this would be fine if he would still vote to protect the Environment in Pennsylvania..and not Vote to convert as much of the state as possible over to Natural Gas instead of Alternative energies...

House Republicans Unveil 'Marcellus Works' Proposal .docx        Plan to intentionally increase the need for Natural Gas in Pennsylvania.        Co-Author of "Marcellus Works" proposal.
The plan is to use $55-60 Million Dollars of Tax payer money to create incentives so that Pennsylvania becomes as addicted to Natural Gas as it is with Gasoline and Oil.

Pennsylvania has an abundant supply of clean natural gas,” said Saylor. “By creating incentives to use that natural gas, we will increase demand, and as a result, we will help create thousands of jobs not only in the natural gas industry but also in related fields like the infrastructure, manufacturing, and service sectors" 

The "Win-Win" in this scheme is the Gas companies and Corporations that benefit from the drilling.
NOTHING is mentioned about the risks or the potential cleanup costs..  I assume that adding Superfund jobs to the list of related fields that would have an increase in jobs would have been counterproductive... 
I think that a lot of jobs would be created if the distributed Well and Septic systems in Pennsylvania need to be connected to mechanically purified Municipal water supplies... This is exactly what is happening right now in Dimock Pa.   Luckily, there is a clean water source only 12 miles from Dimock. If there is large contamination however, and if if does not appear for 10 or more years, the problem will not be as easy to solve.  He doesn't mention the jobs that could be lost from tourism, fishing and farming and he doesn't mention Solar Power or alternate Energies.....It seems that the word "Sustainable" does not have a place in the proposal..                                It seems that a single state spending 55+ million dollars on incentives to switch from oil to Natural Gas is as easy as writing a check... 

Obama Admin Rejects Timeout for Natural Gas Drilling in N.Y., Pa.docx   -     Document title is Self Explanatory

Public money spent in Pittsburgh.docx      Public Money being Spent in Pittsburgh in support of the Oil And Gas Industry. 

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