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March 27, 2015
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The final version of the natural gas drilling regulations of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), still awaiting approval by the commissioners after the postponement of a vote on November 21, contains one phrase that we were very happy to see: “Natural gas exploration and extraction activities are deemed incompatible land uses at locations in the UPDE Corridor [Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Corridor].” The Upper Delaware Council (UDC) is on record interpreting the River Management Plan (RMP) the same way, and to the extent that the DRBC is a member of the council, it is a  Read more


In a case decided in 2006, Colbert v. the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Middle Creek Quarry, a judge overturned a decision by the DEP to grant a major non-coal mining permit to quarry operator John Malti of Palmyra Township in Wayne County. Key to the rationale for vacating the permit was Section 3308 of the Surface Mining Act. That legislation says that the agency cannot grant a permit if:  Read more

A post-election thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches with its reminder of the merits of gratitude, the embers of a particularly vigorous election cycle are still fading. Emotions always run high during election season, stress is rampant, and there are many whose first thought may be that they are just grateful that it’s over. But we think there are some positive things to be grateful for as well, and would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the participants and our gratitude for what we see as some heartening developments with regard to local political life.  Read more

Whenever one door closes…

As reported in last week’s newspaper, the board of the Sullivan West Central School District has returned developer Ilwon Kang’s deposit on the Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley school properties. That marks the end of one deal. But it should be remembered that the Kang offer—which would have involved the purchase of the properties by outside investors described as belonging to the entertainment and recreation industry—was one of two the board received back in November of 2010.  Read more

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