Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fast Eddie Rides Again!

And he leaves us stuck with the bill. Again.

A seminar will be held in Altoona this morning for the leaders of local municipalities and their boards to discuss the implementation of the Commonwealth's Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy.

Its all part of the Governor's pledge to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. In order for the clean-up to occur, there needs to be a reduction in the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment entering streams and ground waters that find their way to the bay.

The implementation of the program will cost significant amounts of money to local municipal entities because there is no funding mechanism from the state to pay for the cleanup. It will also require wastewater treatment plants to change their methods of operation.

In other words, Governor Rendell wants to make a more or less useless, albeit costly, gesture, and stick us with the bill. And a big bill it is:

Residents of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed will see sewer rates jump as municipalities attempt to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy, experts said Tuesday.

More than half of Pennsylvania is within the watershed, including Blair and surrounding counties.

"Sewer rates will increase; that is a reality," said engineer Jodi L. Reese of CET Engineering Services, the Harrisburg-based firm that presented an informational seminar on the program Tuesday in Altoona. "They could increase by 50 to 80 percent."

Well great. I am moving at the end of this month to a new house, and therefore for the first time in my life will be responsible for sewer bills. (Sewer is included in my current lease.) And how am I greeted at this new place? With (hopefully, Rendell says) expanded bills and no increase in salary to compensate.

"But Auskunft," I hear you bleating, "Cleaning up the environment is a GOOD thing! We need clean water and yak yak yak yak..." Well, yes. True. Very true. But tell me, if you fracture your left arm, you don't go to the doctor with the intention of having a full body cast, do you? Do you want to have your appendix and tonsils removed along with a frostbite-afflicted toe? Of course not. You fix the problem only, right? Well, please, take a look at this map. As you can see, nearly the entire state of Pennsylvania is in the green or orange stages, which means that there is not enough so-called pollution to worry about (green) or that the water table itself is not susceptible to nitrogen waste. (Of course, the nitrogen itself is of no concern; the fear is that nitrogen could combine with other chemicals and form nitrates. If nitrogen itself was such a problem, well, ooops, the atmosphere is 78% or so nitrogen. Damn chemical scare tactics...).

Back to the map: as you can see, the only area of Pennsylvania at the highest risk is the region surrounding... Philadelphia! You guessed it! And, of course, you're not really surprised, right? This only begs the question why Ed Rendell won't expend all this energy (and increase the financial burden) on the counties actually responsible for hurting the watershed the most, rather than going after us out here in some of the most rural (and clean!) sections of the state. But you don't need me to tell you the answer, do you? Fast Eddie Rendell was mayor of Filth-adelphia, and because of that and only that city was he elected Governor of the state. And ever since then, he has done his very best to ensure that Philly gets every kickback possible; the rest of the state, who didn't vote for him, can screw ourselves.

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this entire maneuver was a lashing out by the Governor for so many schools refusing to opt-in to his Act 72 nonsense and the General Assembly refusing his minimum wage garbage. After so many rather humiliating defeats (of which Rendell has had a great share) Fast Eddie found a way to stick it to all of us in return. And since it is in the name of conserving the watershed and bay and whatever else he says, it is difficult to effectively argue against it. Language is hijacked again by the liberals, right on the heels of de facto taxes.


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