Wrong bang for taxpayer bucks

Pennsylvania taxpayers got an unexpected bang for their bucks on June 3. The bang was an 18-hour blowout of a gas well in Moshannon State Forest, about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The bucks were obtained by leasing state forestland for natural-gas drilling to balance the state budget.

To prevent citizens from getting the short end of the bargain, contact your legislators and request support for three key issues related to natural-gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale. First, a severance tax is needed so that the costs of extraction are not passed on to taxpayers. Second, Senate approval is required to enact a three-year moratorium that would cease the further leasing of state forestlands until impact studies are completed. Third, rules and regulations, including those for permitting, monitoring, and enforcement, must be strengthened.

Olivia Thorne


Pa. League of Women Voters



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BP has no one to blame but itself

Given some people's insistence that the "risky deepwater drilling" in the Gulf of Mexico by BP was caused by the protests of the environmental community, let us set the record straight. Nothing forced BP into risky drilling other than its insatiable greed for multibillion-dollar profits.

BP's egregious denial of the facts, which underscored its outrageous disregard for humans and wildlife, is unethical and criminal. We can only hope that BP will be held accountable for its irresponsible behavior.

Peter C. McVeigh



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Is Bissinger still holding a grudge?

When I was in college, a couple years after graduating from Germantown Friends School, I composed a blistering "comic" letter to the editor of my college paper making snarky observations and outraged complaints about various groups of students on campus.

I was reminded of this adolescent episode while reading Buzz Bissinger's article about GFS baseball player Jesse Biddle, who has been drafted by the Phillies ("An unlikely baseball factory and its star," Thursday).

While my words were given their rightful place in the dustbin, Bissinger's appear on the front page of a major newspaper. The Inquirer's embarrassment showed a bit as Bissinger's credentials and awards were needlessly trumpeted at the top of the article, supposedly to make it more palatable because it was written by a "real writer."

I shudder to think what slights and injustices were heaped upon Bissinger by GFS and his fellow parents of students there that he should still have such major issues with them. Did his co-op-shopping, bumper-stuck-Volvo-driving, peace-loving peer group not invite him to the coolest parties? Was it because he was always the guy in the corner ripping people who were not there while throwing in an occasional exculpatory "but he's a great guy"?

Matt Hagele


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Should worry about Ahmadinejad

As a young citizen I'm concerned that the threat of a nuclear Iran is not being appropriately recognized.

If we can judge a leader's behavior by how he treats his own citizens, then Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a genuine threat to the world.

I'm especially concerned that our current diplomatic fallout with Israel will only embolden Ahmadinejad to attack Israel or other allies.

Frank Brodie



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U.S. needs allies in sanctioning Iran

Judging by what we read in the newspapers and what is broadcast, the United States is practically the only member of the U.N. Security Council concerned with Iran's race to produce nuclear weapons.

The United States pressed for the approval of sanctions while many Security Council members were reluctant to come along, and some were openly opposed.

Perhaps if we kept ourselves from continually being in the forefront, others might pick up the initiative. As we are the "superpower," other nations are pleased to let us do most of the heavy lifting.

Martin Gingold


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Maybe City Council is the problem

Re: "Council grills RDA over land projects," Tuesday:

The "growing rift between City Council and the Redevelopment Authority" may be due to a new, more progressive, less political RDA. Under the leadership of Terri Gillen, the RDA has become more proactive and willing to work with Realtors, developers, and investors who meet their guidelines.

The city has untapped wealth in the form of thousands of parcels, vacant and unused, that can be sold off to 1) help reduce city liability, 2) increase city revenue, and, most important, 3) stimulate neighborhoods as formerly abandoned parcels reenter the mainstream.

More city agencies should follow RDA's lead and take this important step to show that they hear and understand the pressures and struggles of the property owners and small businesses in our city. Thank you, RDA, for being brave enough to be the first to step up. We urge and encourage other agencies to do the same.

Diane A. Lucidi

Chief executive officer

Greater Philadelphia Assn. of Realtors