Sunday, April 11, 2010

Democratic candidates address issues at local political event

The affects of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale was one of the big topics of discussion among political candidates Saturday during the 2010 Spring Dinner of the Bradford County Democratic Party.

Rep. Chris Carney of the 110th Congressional District was the keynote speaker at the event, who explained that he has said many times he is in favor of making certain that clean water is protected. Others who spoke included Mike Dineen on behalf of Daniel Onorato, who is running for governor; Jake Diegel who represented U.S. Senator Arlen Specter; Lou Freimiller, who spoke on behalf of candidate Joe Hoeffel, who is running for governor; Deb Barr, who spoke for Joe Sestak, who is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate; and John Murray, who is running for the governor's spot.

As more natural gas companies have set up rigs throughout the area to tap the Marcellus Shale, many local residents have expressed concern about the effect on the area - particularly on the roads and the environment.

...many people in the audience were enthusiastic when candidates spoke about the importance of keeping the environment protected during the gas drilling process.

Carney said during his speech that he wants to make certain that a balance is struck between industrial development and the needs of the communities in being provided with clean water.

"We're not going to create a desert where we live, we're not going to ruin the water so we have to move. We're going to create the balance so we have the lifestyle we want and the clean water we want, but we also cannot throw away the opportunity that we have right now in the terms of the economy with what's going on right now with the drilling. We've got to do it right, we've got to have the right kinds of monitoring on the gas companies," Carney said.

Diegel said that Specter has always been in favor clean and safe drinking water, and will study the legislation that is being put forth in Washington to regulate fracking in the gas drilling industry. He also said that Specter has also been very supportive of alternative forms of energy, such as solar power, to help the environment as well as provide for energy needs.

Barr said that [Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate] Sestak is the only candidate with a 100 percent rating from the Conservation League.

"He's been on top of every environmental issue. I'm very happy to be working for Joe Sestak in the primary."

Freimiller, speaking for Hoeffel, said that Hoeffel is the most progressive candidate for governor in this year's primary, being pro-choice and pro-marriage quality. He said that [gubernatorial candidate] Hoeffel will work aggressively to double PennDOT's budget used to improve roads and rebuild bridges. Freimiller also said Hoeffel has called for a moratorium on gas drilling permits on state forest lands; and has not taken any campaign money from gas drilling companies.


C.J. Marshall can be reached at (570) 265-1630; e-mail:


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