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March 03, 2015
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The Dairy Regression Act

When Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania sent out press releases for his “Dairy Advancement Act” (S1682) a few weeks ago, (see “Wayne farmers still struggling” in our October 20 issue), we perused them eagerly hoping to find something that would be, well, an advancement for farmers. Our hopes began to falter as soon as we read that the legislation “would give dairy producers a choice in risk management tools by allowing them to continue to participate in the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program or to receive support for Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) program.”  Read more

Dream on

With all the focus on natural gas drilling in the zoning reviews of local municipalities, a couple of other concerns voiced in the public Dream on  Read more

Taking care of business

With all the focus on natural gas drilling in the zoning reviews of local municipalities, a couple of other concerns voiced in the public comments on Tusten’s draft deserve closer examination. They are the charges that the document—and the comprehensive plan on which it is based—were constructed without opportunity for input from key business stakeholders, and that they accordingly are “anti-business.”  Read more

Wrongful takings, the sequel

In calculating the impact of natural gas drilling on local economies, one of the areas that has remained the vaguest is the question of its impact on property values. On the one hand, we have reports that, for instance, rental housing becomes extremely scarce and rents skyrocket in areas with intensive gas drilling activity, which certainly sounds like a plus for landlords.  Read more

Without boundaries: A found poem*

My family has been here for four generations
My wife and I bought property here six years ago
My family and I, we’ve had a house here for 18 years
My family has been coming here since 1900

    I grew up in the Catskills
    I swam in the streams, the lakes
    I went fishing, I climbed the mountains
    I ate the corn.

I was born in Callicoon
Raised in Eldred
I live in Cochecton
I have two businesses on Main Street
I am not an outsider though I live in Glen Spey
Don’t you know me? Then get over to the library  Read more

Occupy America

For the first couple of weeks after Occupy Wall Street got going on September 17, the mainstream media treated it with a kind of condescending amusement. Protesters were seen as an aimless, if amiable, rabble who could safely be ignored because they had no list of “specific demands.”  Read more

Weighing risks

Two towns in New York State, Dryden and Middlefield, have now been sued on account of zoning ordinances prohibiting natural gas drilling. That such suits would be filed has long been expected, but the timing raises tricky questions for towns like Tusten and Lumberland that are heading toward the home stretch of their draft zoning rewrites, with votes scheduled for later this year.  Read more

Interdisciplinary and cross-media huh?

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sent out a press release touting a new reorganization initiative. Also last week, the Pike County Conservation District (PCCD) discussed the problems related to the oversight and enforcement of natural gas pipeline construction. These two events, in two very different ways, cast light on what is becoming an increasingly critical question in our area: are the bodies charged with ensuring the viability of our habitat willing and able to do what is necessary to see that it is protected from degradation?  Read more

In it for the short haul

As the national jobs situation continues to deteriorate, voices calling for gas drilling as the only way out of our local economic dilemma become all the more strident. But several recent studies suggest that if we rush into a gas drilling economy, it may be only to find ourselves rushing out again, with less to show for it, even in the short term, than has been commonly assumed—especially as compared to other avenues likely to offer better long-term solutions.  Read more

‘I pay a lot of taxes in this town…’

How often have you heard this remark used, whether in a private conversation or a public meeting, to preface someone’s opinions about what a town’s policies should be or how its codes should be written? We’ve heard it fairly frequently over the years, including recently, without really stopping to question it. Although those who utter it don’t spell out why they consider it relevant, the implications seem clear enough. The speaker pays a lot of taxes; tax revenues are what a town uses to operate; therefore the speaker ought to have a lot of say in how the town is governed.  Read more