Because of a recent editorial in the Phoenix, I found myself at a rally on the courthouse steps in West Chester. A rally to support the Growing Greener 2 initiative that is coming up for a vote by the PA legislature in the next few weeks. What's at stake is not whether the initiative will pass, but whether the people of Pennsylvania will be allowed to have a say in its passing. This vote will be on whether to put a referendum on the ballot in November to ask voters: "Do you favor the protection of open space and farmland, the restoration of abandoned mines and polluted streams, the revitalization of communities and the undertaking of other environmental initiatives by authorizing the Commonwealth to incur debt of up to $800,000,000 offset by fees on pollution and waste disposal activities?"
There are valid arguments on both sides of this initiative. But, it seems that many elected officials are not interested in the electorates' participation in matters that directly effect our future.
Senator Thompson, in a recent editorial, came out against this bill and our right to decide on this issue even though he states that "a case could be made to increase spending in these areas." I, for one, would like the chance to "make the case."
Governor Ridge said, when signing the original bill: "'Growing Greener' is about preserving open space - protecting our lands and waters for fishing, hiking and farming. Our Constitution gives Pennsylvanians the right to clean air, to pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment."
That bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate by a vote of 49 to 1, and the House, 166 to 28. This was a true bipartisan commitment to our Commonwealth's future. Today, because of fiscal decline, Pennsylvania has had to cut funding for these great ideals. Governor Rendell has come up with a plan that practically pays for itself. We, as voters, voted him in and we have the right to tell him through this referendum whether we think that he is on the right track. If he isn't, he will know for sure the day after Election Day. If we don't get this opportunity, those who denied us that right should hear about it in November. Time is running out. Go on line for more information to http://www.growinggreener2.com . Contact your state representatives and tell them that you want to have a say about the quality of your life. They should vote to put this question before the people of Pennsylvania.