Proposed law is industry giveaway

A recent editorial ("Save our Water," May 19) concluded with praise for legislation State Sen. Joe Scarnati has introduced. But while this bill would assess a modest "impact fee" on gas drillers, it is really an industry giveaway. In exchange, the bill would require municipalities to adopt a "model ordinance" that abdicates responsibility to protect Pennsylvania's communities, undermines local democracy, and would lead to wide-scale environmental degradation.

Municipalities would be required to allow gas development as a "use by right" in all zoning districts except residential districts. Even agricultural security zones and natural resource protection areas would need to be opened up to heavy industrial use if a township wanted to receive its fair share of the proposed "impact fees." Municipalities would also be required to allow compressor stations in all zoning districts and would have to allow natural-gas processing plants in agricultural districts. Local elected officials would even be prevented from limiting the hours of oil and gas drilling operations, and from imposing reasonable noise, light, and height restrictions.

Legislation that causes gas drilling and its related industrial activities to be zoned less stringently than other industrial land uses must be rejected.

Maya van Rossum


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Castor and Brown are pandering

Regarding an article on Tuesday, "Montco candidates Castor and Brown take a strong stand for Israel," it should be noted that Bruce L. Castor and Jenny Brown, the Republican candidates for Montgomery County commissioner, have raised pandering to a new level. But their ploy to draw Jewish voters away from the Democratic slate of Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards (both observant Jews) will likely backfire.

As a resident of Montgomery County, I am interested in local issues such as jobs, the economy, balancing the budget, schools, parks, and recreation. Moreover, as a past chairman of the Philadelphia Anti-Defamation League board, I am deeply offended by Castor's and Brown's brazen insertion of identity politics into this race. They should take their cue from Shapiro and Richards, and focus on the issues that impact Montco, not the Middle East.

Michael J. Boni

Bryn Mawr

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Historical context for raw-milk dispute

In the late 19th century, my grandfather Dr. Edward O. Shakespeare, who had studied under Robert Koch, renowned for isolating the tubercle bacillus as the cause of tuberculosis, brought the germ theory to Philadelphia, called for "No Spitting" signs to be posted in public places, and insisted that the dairy industries test their cattle with tuberculin ("Farmers vs. feds," Sunday).

Not surprisingly, the dairy industries fought such testing, vilified Shakespeare, and gathered the support of powerful political interests against him. In response, Shakespeare made his own tests of raw milk - and discovered that the milk was routinely diluted with water.

Buyer beware!

Edward O. Shakespeare III


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How indefensible are Israel's borders?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the 1967 borders of Israel are "indefensible." Yet Israel managed to defend those borders for many years when the conventional military threat was far greater than it is today.

Perhaps he only meant that they are politically indefensible.

Scott Washburn


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Cutting subsidies, hurting families

Adrienne Lu's May 21 article on child-care subsidies ("U.S., Pennsylvania cuts expected to curb child-care subsidies") highlights an issue that is critical to the economic stability of low-income families and to the potential success of children. Research shows that child-care subsidies to low-income parents enable those parents to enter and remain in the workforce. In addition, a portion of these funds is directed to improving the quality of child care. Studies consistently find that higher-quality child care improves developmental outcomes for children.

Reduced subsidies will not just mean longer waiting lists. They will lessen our ability to contribute to the healthy development of thousands of children whose families have few options.

Carol Emig

President, Child Trends


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Republicans face consequences

Angela Couloumbis' May 24 article ("Antitax campaigner holds a lot of sway in Harrisburg") mentions that Gov. Corbett has signed Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise or create taxes. I believe that he will regret this. Likewise, voting for Paul Ryan's budget proposal to remake Medicare into a voucher system will sink Republicans' chances of retaining control of the House of Representatives after the 2012 election.

All but four of the GOP members of the House have voted for the Ryan budget. It will be interesting to watch the Republicans try to explain away this vote now that the Democrats have won the special election in New York's 26th Congressional District, in large part because the Republican candidate said she was for the Ryan budget.

Thomas J. Lees

Lafayette Hill