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Damascus extinguishes distinguished voice

April 7, 2011

Damascus Township voted abruptly to remove Dolores Keesler as representative to the Upper Delaware Council (UDC). The UDC is an advisory board that addresses local, state and federal actions affecting the Delaware River that has yet to become ruined by industrial pollutants.

Greed, manipulation by well-disguised foreign interests and control by a wealthy few contributed to such an irresponsible decision. Lack of impact studies and unwillingness to relegate industry to industrial zones are proof that Damascus falls far short of its mandate.

Few remember that Keesler’s passionate voice rose to protect landowner rights when eminent domain threatened the valley. When thousands of acres on both sides of the river, stretching beyond “ridge top to ridge top” were at risk of being condemned as part of the National Park System, Dolores worked to exhaustion to promote re-writes to preserve private ownership.

Lease signers who willingly relinquished sovereignty over their land would not have such freedom had it not been for people like Dolores. I know. I was there.

Instead of representing all, Damascus supervisors shamefully succumbed to pressure from people who stand to gain monetarily by additional revenues from drilling. Every lease signed put money in landowners’ hands. Not enough? Non-signers want nothing more than protection, not money. Based on what knowledge do our supervisors decide who wins and who loses? Credentials, anybody?

Appointing Keesler to the UDC was the one sign of intelligent life on our board. It was a real stretch to have someone so capable, wise and selfless there.

Lease signers are from everywhere with one common denominator: fear. Fear of passing up a deal, fear of being surrounded, fear of not having enough money to get by, fear of pressure—they were played like a well-tuned fiddle. The only thing that will soothe the fear of not getting more money is getting more money. Don’t worry. Damascus is working on it.

Jennifer Canfield
Damascus, PA