Oped: Perry, Congress must act on climate issues

Al Sykes
Windsor Township

"God also was to blame for the documented poor quality of air in the York County area because he created trees, which also can contribute to air pollution,” Rep. Scott Perry said at a recent constituent town hall meeting in York County.

Al Sykes

I was not aware that I have, personally, become part of the problem.

As a member of the Rotary Club of York, I have participated in numerous tree plantings, which have added more than 500 trees to the landscape of the City of York. I was under the impression that trees helped to absorb carbon dioxide, pull particulate matter from the air, retard storm water runoff and cool the ground. Apparently, according to Rep. Perry, I was wrong. So were the EPA, DCNR, concerned scientists, American Forests Organizations, the National Conference of Mayors and a host of other environmentally conscious organizations.

Perry makes waves by implying God pollutes

One of us doesn’t get the point, which is that 97 percent of scientists studying environmental change are in agreement that “We have met the enemy, and he is us,” as Walt Kelly’s Pogo warned us more than 25 years ago. If that statistic doesn’t resonate, perhaps Perry will relate to this point: “In a Gallup poll released March 14, a majority of respondents said they believe global warming is occurring and is caused by human activity.” (Time, March 27, 2017 issue). The environment is an issue about which “We, the people” are concerned and are expecting our legislative leaders to do something.

I don’t want to paint Perry as a climate-change denier, but can we please see some evidence of concern for, at least, local issues such as the Susquehanna/Chesapeake Bay, the condition of Lake Erie, relaxation of legislation to keep our water clean from coal mine effluent or perhaps the not-so-clean air from Brunner Island (power plant).

Perry faces constituents at Red Lion town hall

Those 39 pieces of environmental legislation that he’s voted against mgiht not have been perfect. One can certainly accuse them of being too paperwork-intensive, too narrowly directed and maybe not passing a short-term cost/benefit criteria. But are NONE of them any good? May we please see some involvement to make them better as opposed to the reject or repeal attitude we’ve witnessed thus far.

Congressman, your constituents DO care about the bigger picture. We worry about what will be the legacy we leave for our grandchildren. National indebtedness can be corrected over time, but the environment needs correction now. The people might be doing the best they can by themselves but require government to do that which we cannot.

— Al Sykes is a Windsor Township resident.