Wayne County Landowner
Member of Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance
Betty Sutliff writes an open letter to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf asking him to honor his words and commit to moving the DRBC off center and allow all Pennsylvanians to benefit from their natural resources.
First, Governor Wolf, let me congratulate you on becoming Governor or this great state. May you serve all Pennsylvanians well. I am writing this letter in response to your statements in your inaugural address. A lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, I am a retired public school teacher living on a farm that has been in our family for multiple generations. You consider yourself an unconventional governor. I was an unconventional teacher. My summers were spent either raking hay or unloading and stacking bales of hay that we harvested from the surface of our land. We also did custom haying on other farms. So, I, too, know physical work. You operated a forklift. I operated a Farmall M and a Massey Ferguson.
In your address, you mentioned the abundant natural resources present in Pennsylvania, and gas was the first item in the list. You said, “To fulfill our potential, we must take full and responsible advantage of these resources.” With that I agree. You said that Pennsylvania “has to offer a level playing field making sure all (emphasis added) businesses, all (emphasis added) Pennsylvanians, have a chance to get ahead” and that all (emphasis added) of Pennsylvania families deserve the same (emphasis added) opportunities.
Yet, here in Wayne County, we have been denied just that. You talked about fairness, but what is fair about denying the families and landowners the right to harvest the natural resource that is below the ground here? Does “all” not include residents of Wayne County because they reside in a different watershed? You talked about good paying jobs and education that prepares students for those jobs. Lackawanna Junior College is preparing students for work in the natural gas industry with nearly 100% placement. However, to access those opportunities, young adults from Wayne County must look to neighboring counties.
You stated, “. . . when we’ve looked to our leaders for answers, we’ve been disappointed and frustrated to the point where we feel very cynical about our government and our future” and, “Our experience has made us cynical . . .” I couldn’t agree with you more. Your stated goal is “to put the interests of our hardworking families ahead (emphasis added) of the special interests.” Please do so. After reading thousands of pages of FOIAs we requested and paid for from the DRBC and discovering the involvement of the William Penn Foundation with the DRBC, I remain cynical and rightly so. Your appointment of Carol Collier to your transition team is incomprehensible.
Like you, I am proud to be a Pennsylvanian – proud that I was born here, proud that I was raised here and proud to call this state my home. When I taught school, I proudly displayed Pennsylvania’s motto in my classroom: Virtue, Liberty, and Independence. May you live up to that motto, starting with virtue.
In your address, you challenged us to be bold, so right now, I am going to be bold and challenge you. If you truly desire to give those of us who did not vote for you “a reason to believe,” (I am a registered Democrat) then start by agreeing to meet with me as part of a team from the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance. As you said, let’s be “willing to listen to each other . . . and learn from each other . . . and work together to give all (emphasis added) Pennsylvanians a shot at a great life.”
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