City Facing its Greatest Challenge
Sunbury PA is facing perhaps its greatest challenge since the threat to Fort Augusta during the French and Indian Wars back in the 18th century.
This time it’s not from the attentions of fiercely combative Native Americans but from a sea of chemical filth in the form of fracking waste, both liquid and solid, which could soon be flowing into the former Celotex site. Owner John Moran is proposing to sub-let part of the site to Clean Harbors who intend to initially import 1000 tons (55 truckloads) per day of waste for processing and subsequent trans-shipment on the railroad. Even these horrendous quantities will be increased in the longer term.
What does this do for the much-vaunted Riverfront Project and first impressions of Sunbury, when the view of arriving visitors from the Packer Island Bridge will be one of a vast unsightly trash dump surrounded by barb wire fencing, belching forth from its evaporation pits odious clouds of foul and sickly chemicals laced with toxins and carcinogens? More importantly, what does this operation do for the health of Sunburians, with its potential to poison the air we breathe and the water we drink?
Plunging Property Values
What about the future economic well-being of our community? Everywhere the gas frackers have ventured, they have left a trail of environmental devastation, poisoned water and plunging property values. Who is going to want to live in or visit a city whose main claim to fame is that of the fracking waste capital of Pennsylvania?
How on earth has this come about? John Moran, who recently entertained Governor Corbett on his luxury yacht in Rhode Island, appears to have had few problems in persuading Mayor Persing that what he is doing is for the good of Sunbury. Maybe they share an interest in softball? Who knows, but they certainly seem to have hit it off. Why else have the operators of this site been given carte blanche to trans-ship waste without the necessary permits and even now are being encouraged to apply for zoning approval to ramp up their operations?
During a recent interview on WKOK, Persing had the temerity to suggest that perhaps Moran was going to build a new hotel on the site, claiming that all the gas frackers had gone away and there was no longer any business to be had from them! These egregious comments were made at the same time as he was holding a series of private meetings, apparently to discuss how best he could help Clean Harbors get over any local obstacles standing in the way of their development.
He dismissed the protesters as “misinformed environmentalists”. No Mr. Persing, the only misinformed people would appear to be yourself and those around you. Don’t you owe it to the 10,000 people of our city to tell them the true facts behind this ghastly development, and how it could impact both their quality of life and their prosperity?
A Fresh Start for Sunbury
Not the Item is going to pursue this issue over the course of the coming months. It is election year, and Mayor Persing hopes to get re-elected for a SIXTH term. Elsewhere there are laws prohibiting such extended terms (the President of the United States can only run for 2 terms), framed to limit the potential for abuse of power, nepotism and corruption.
We believe that the time for change has come to Sunbury – we need to wheel out the old and bring in the new – we need someone with fresh ideas to revitalize our city, who puts the interests of the people first, second and third, and who is prepared to work towards making it a better place in which to live, work and play – a better place for everyone, not just the chosen few, or those who happen to be softball fanatics!