Normally, when I open up The Daily Review I find the usual dose of local news. However, every so often I am confronted with a passage containing quotes from some of our elected officials. On Wednesday June 10, 2009 I opened up to a small article in the “local and state” section in which Doug McLinko stated, “If you believe in agriculture preservation and preserving the family farm, this gas play has done more than any government program could ever do.” It took me awhile to put my brain back together because a statement that devoid of sense can really blow ones mind. Let’s begin with the obvious logical fallacy in McLinko’s statement, how on earth does he expect the preservation of agriculture and the family farm if land used for farming and other agricultural enterprises is being leased and used for drilling? These operations require heavy equipment that isn’t easy on land, exploratory practices that are definitely not easy on land, and pipelines through land, not to mention the effect on roads and water, more on water later. Why doesn’t he just go ahead and say, “I’m lobbying for the gas companies in order to line my own pockets, and I’m not nor was I ever, interested in working with the current or past commissioners to serve the citizens of Bradford County.” It would be a lot easier for him to say that, because I feel like I may not be the only one who can see right through his intentions. The PA Dept. of Agriculture is a part of the PA state government, Doug, and it provides numerous services to farmers in PA. These are services that actually contribute to the preservation of LAND that farmers use to produce, annual reports and publications, and right-to-know services. Many bureaus also lobby on their behalf in Harrisburg, one bureau being the aptly named Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. PA Conservation Districts as well as programs like the Penn State Agricultural Extension help shape agricultural policy within the commonwealth. Do the gas companies provide that for the 58,000 farming families in Pennsylvania? Or are they too busy lobbying for every tax break possible for themselves? I believe it is quite clear that the gas companies do not lobby for anyone but themselves and no one else, save for the minority of landowners who sit on land rich with natural gas. The gas companies have no interest in the preservation of land either; quite the opposite if you paid any attention while you visited Texas, Doug.
You know you’re really in trouble, Doug, when Tina Pickett actually introduces legislation aimed at the interests of her constituents while you are off vehemently defending gas companies who serve no one but themselves and irresponsibly wreck the pristine environment of Bradford County. That’s right folks, Tina Pickett introduced constructive legislation! It only took her 8 years to find an issue in which she could shape policy in, granted its an issue that covers 75% of the earth. I’m speaking of course about water in reference to an article printed the very same day in the Review. Interestingly enough Tina Pickett is an elected official, in a government whose purpose is to SERVE its constituents. I think Doug McLinko could learn a lesson from such behavior. It is my belief that the majority of farmers in the state, and perhaps the county, would agree that an instrument of government in the form of the PA Dept. of Agriculture, and groups like the PA Farm Bureau, The Conservation Districts throughout PA, and programs like the Penn State Agricultural Extension PA serves their interests in preservation of agriculture far more than both the gas companies and Doug McLinko ever has.
Christopher S. Bradley