The following video was produced by link tv. Earth Focus. As fracking technology spreads throughout the world countries like England are looking at what is happening here and asking a lot of questions.
An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK's Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?
Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.
Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.
Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells -- waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium -- is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York's Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out. New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.
With a gas production boom underway in the Marcellus Shale and plans for some 400,000 wells in the coming decades, the cumulative impact of dumping potential lethal waste without adequate oversight is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And now U.S. companies are exporting fracking to Europe.
The following video could have been produced for us!
On the 22nd of April 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums of the United States to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
43 years later we are still fighting the same issues!
Letter submitted to the Times News in response to the Linda Koeller article of March 8th, 2013 entitled "Alpine Rose still on track"
If Alpine Rose doesn't need TIF why waste time and money on reviewing application?
In the March 8th article by Linda Koehler Alpine Rose still on track , Paul Matinho said, "It would be nice to have, but if we don't get it, it won't affect us from moving forward."
I have to agree with Mr. Matinho, using tax dollars to do the road upgrades required for his development project would indeed be nice. However, I believe that one of the requirements for TIF funding is the need for these dollars, without which the development plan would not be able to move forward. So why is Mr. Matinho wasting the time of the Township, County and School Board, asking them to review an application for which he states the money is not necessary but merely nice?
TIF financing is a tool used by developers to finance all or part of a development project. Local taxing authorities float a bond to finance the development and use all or part of the taxes paid by the developer to repay the loan and interest. Should the development fail to produce the necessary tax increments to satisfy the loan and interest payments the tax payers must cover the costs. No risk to the developer.
Without TIF all of the increase in taxes would go to the Township, County and School District. Taxes that could be used for schools, parks, libraries, emergency personnel and other community services. Can the tax payers of Eldred Township and Monroe County really afford to forego years of future tax revenue to fund a private country club for wealthy automobile enthusiasts? Why should they give up 1 dime of tax dollars for this project when the developer himself states that it would be “nice” but is not really necessary?
TIF financing began in California in the 1950’s. It has left a legacy of out of control debt and has been instrumental in bankrupting the state. On February 1st all of the more than 400 redevelopment authorities in California have been abolished.
If a development plan has enough profit potential to be developed without TIF, then there seems little reason that a local government should give up many years of future property tax revenues to pay for a portion of the development.
from the Pocono Record Letters to the Editor
Borger was wrong choice for TIF board
March 03, 2013 12:00 AM
Editor, the Record:
I attended a meeting of the Pleasant Valley School Board on Feb. 14. They have appointed Steve Borger as their representative on the Tax Increment Funding Application Review Committee for the Alpine Motorsports development in Eldred Township. There are several valid reasons that Mr. Borger should be replaced:
1) At the time that the Alpine project was first presented, Steve Borger was an Eldred Township supervisor. At that time he was clearly supportive of the project's development, and antagonistic toward members of the Blue Mountain Preservation Association (a group formed to oppose the racetrack).
2) Mr. Borger is still a resident of Eldred, and apparently he is still looking down his nose at BMPA. At Thursday's meeting he had a comment to the effect of: I still don't like your organization. This is hardly indicative of an unbiased view.
3) Clearly it would be in everyone's best interest if the school board representative had no prior relationship with either the township, the developer, or BMPA.
4) Another reason to have someone not residing in Eldred Township as the school board representative: If the TIF funding does go through, properties adjacent to the development can be taken under the TIF eminent domain clause. This can (and has) happened if the developer decides that the land is needed for expansion to make the project profitable enough to pay back the TIF. Owners will have no choice but to sell at "fair market value" which is decided by the township!
It was disappointing that, when presented with this information, the school board's response was that Steve Borger had been appointed and that was not going to change. I would have hoped for more open-mindedness among the group responsible for our tax dollars.
Submitted to the Times News in response to the Linda Koehler article of March 8th 2013
"Alpine still on track"
ALPINE ROSE STILL A THORN
In response to Linda Koehler’s March 8 2013 article. Check the facts, Alpine did not win all the lawsuits the opposition brought to court.
It is nice to know Mr. Matinho’s children live in Bedminster and will not be exposed to the racetrack he plans to build. Unlike the children residing in the Smith Gap area and beyond who will be exposed to the polluted air and noise his project will emit 7 days a week. Unlike the clean air and quite they are being raised in now by caring parents.
The residents of this beautiful area seem to be an unwanted commodity to the governing bodies until tax time. All three governing bodies are now considering TIF. Should this very risky project fail that unwanted commodity would have to step up to the plate with the rest of Monroe County and pay the bond that was floated for something that is unnecessary, this could be considered gambling with public monies.
Neither of the Mr. Matinho’s have an allegiance to Eldred Township nor Monroe County so why would they care about the Blue Mountain, Aquashicola Creek and the people’s lives they plan to destroy.
Letter to the Editor: Pocono Record
Kalahari's tax request could risk public money
February 22, 2013
Editor, the Record:
I read with interest your article in the Sunday, Jan. 26 paper, "Kalahari wants to defer $24.6 million in tax payments," which states "... the increase in taxes that comes with an improved property is put into a fund property owners can use to pay for infrastructure improvements." This does not accurately describe the method of financing public improvements through the use of tax increment financing (TIF) zones.
Funds for the public improvement (in this case $24.6 million) would come from money borrowed by the three taxing authorities (county, school and township) in the form of a general revenue bond. The increase in taxes realized by the new development would be used by the taxing authorities to pay off the bond.
This developer is asking for 100 percent of the bond money for the first phase of its project. One would certainly hope that the project will be a financial success, because if the developer is ever unable to pay the property taxes during the payback period of the bond (up to 20 years), the taxing authorities would not have the tax money to make the bond payments.
I think it is important for taxpayers to understand where the improvement money is coming from and who is guaranteeing its repayment. It is the taxpayers who ultimately could pay increased taxes in the case of a developer insolvency or default.
Information on TIF zones is available on many websites. I encourage all interested parties to investigate the details.
When talking environment and development one phrase more than any other gets brandished about like a magic sword, “Best Management Practices”. The magical “BMP”’s that are supposed to make all development not only possible but are supposed to put our minds at ease that the development will be done in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.
The following story was sent to us by one of our members and serves as a reminder that perhaps the “Best Management Practices” are no management and that left in its natural state nature takes care of itself. Plants will grow where they want, water will flow were it will. Perhaps we should respect that and learn to live with nature and not try to shape it to our will. We certainly have had enough environmental disasters to show us that “Best Management Practices” are not necessarily what’s best.
The Creator Speaks with St. Francis about Lawns
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature, what in the world is going on down there in the U.S.? What in the world happened to the Dandelion, violets, thistles an stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.
ST FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it is so boring, it’s not colorful. It doesn't’t attract butterflies, bees or birds only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing it and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably makes the grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites very happy.
ST.FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord, As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it - sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? So they bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep the moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus as they rot, the leaves are compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You’d better sit down Lord. As soon as the leaves fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No way! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree roots in the winter, to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing the leaves away they go out and buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down the trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST. CATHERINE: It’s called “Dumb and Dumber” Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about.....................
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis!