Letters to the Editor

Petition gathers steam

To the Editor:

There has been a fantastic response to the Swarthmore 21 referendum petition. Activity during the past week or so has underscored how important this issue is to the citizens of the borough. We are nearing the Bureau of Elections signature threshold for necessary support that will place the question of dry/wet on the May 16 ballot as a referendum.

Signature collection continues this weekend and next week. There will be collectors at the Co-op, Hobbs, and walking through the business district periodically throughout the upcoming days. A collector will be at the train station several evenings between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. waR3house3’s evening performances this Saturday and next will also have a collector present. Compendium will be having a sale/signing event on First Friday (3/3), and will there be a collector at Hobbs that evening.

When the required total has been reached, results will be shared on the Swarthmore21.com website, Swarthmore21 Facebook page, and of course we will submit the information to the Swarthmorean.

Thank you to all Swarthmoreans who took time to sign a petition, discussed their thoughts (pro and con), and made this a tremendously productive week and a half. However, there is still work to be done. If you haven’t signed yet, please stop by one of the locations noted, or contact us through Swarthmore21.com for information on how you can add your support.

Patrick Francher on behalf of the entire Swarthmore21 Team

Environmental protections in peril

To the Editor:

Through independent analyses, scientists from around the world agree that the year 2016 was the hottest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, and 16 of the 17 hottest years ever have occurred since the year 2000. Scientists at work at NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the World Meteorological Organization, the UK Meteorological Office, and the European weather and climate center agree that greenhouse gas pollution from human activities is responsible for this warming trend and climate change.

The heat plus the pollution dumped into our environment causes deadly weather events, wrecks our economy, and damages our health and the plants and animals we depend on to survive or to create the beauty around us.

For the above reasons, there is no excuse to delay eliminating the causes of climate change such as our use of fossil fuels, certain agricultural methods, and transportation vehicles. While we can still act to prevent far worst consequences of global climate change, we must enforce better and expand our environmental safeguards.

Unfortunately, we are going backwards and we have too many state and federal legislators that are willing to eliminate effective environmental rules (some U.S. Senators voted to end the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule which stops coal companies from dumping tons of poisonous mining waste into waterways that serve as sources of drinking water) in order to put the profits of polluters and themselves ahead of the lives and livelihoods of most of their constituents.

Other examples of this despicable trend are two bills that were recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives with the help of local politicians Meehan, Fitzpatrick and Costello. One is the Midnight Rules Relief Act, which would make it easy to undo environmental protections including some that are critical to fighting climate change.

The second bill is the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. As the Natural Resources Defense Council states, “The bill could … impose a slow-motion government shutdown, and it would replace a process based on expertise, rationality and openness with one characterized by political maneuvering, economic clout and secrecy” if Congress was repositioned to make the final decision on matters dependent on scientific research. The REINS Act rejects the logic that informed Congress’ decision over 100 years ago and since then to create federal agencies to make technical decisions for the public’s protection. Congress correctly concluded that some types of policy decisions need to be made by regulatory agencies such as the FDA and the EPA, which have people capable of doing the scientific research and reviewing and understanding hundreds of scientific studies on each issue, and are isolated enough from politics that they can make wise policies based solely on the facts and their mission to protect the health and safety of all people. Without micromanaging these regulatory agencies Congress has plenty of authority over them, including their funding, and does not need the badly conceived Midnight Rules Relief Act, or the REINS Act.

Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick Chair, Delco Greens

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