A recent letter to the editor stated that I have consistently opposed gas drilling in Damascus Township. But no one has ever heard or read statements by me against gas drilling. I have consistently said, “When the gas industry is held responsible to the clean water and air acts, and when it is ready to post $1 or $2 million bonds to cover damage created by its operations, then let it drill.” I emphasized not what I am against, but what I am for: a quest for workable economic solutions that are consistent with good stewardship of our resources.
When was the last time the comprehensive plan was considered? Could it be looked at to see how to achieve this? My intention was to create a committee of citizens from all parts of the community to sit down and work on a plan for the good of all. I suggest that such a plan is still viable.
Many of our residents expressed concern about “taxation without representation.” Many of them may not be permanent now, but are looking to the future as their retirement nears. They have invested their lives, time and savings to be in this beautiful town, and are fearful of losing all. Private property rights are important to them, too.
Those of us living on the water’s edge pay more per acre than some large tracts of land that have access to relief such as clean and green, subsidies or other benefits. These high-taxpaying properties are the tax base of the town. Most of our taxpayers have not leased their land. Is it because they are leaning toward caution, or is it because they don’t “need the money,” the rationale often cited for leasing. Don’t we all need money? Are our leaders representing them, or only those with the larger, lower-taxed tracts?
Town leaders are charged with protecting the health, welfare and safety of the citizens. That can’t be done by just treating gas drilling as our savior. We have to take everything into account—including preserving our current resources.