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John Childe

Photo submitted to Times Observer John Childe

Dear Editor,

Word from Dick Martin of the Pennsylvania Forest Coalition is that John Childe’s lawsuit was successful. Dick once wrote an editorial that appeared in the Times Observer several years ago.

When Pennsylvania’s state legislators diverted $478 million from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund, they didn’t count on the nonprofit PA Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) to take them to task.

PEDF attorney John Childe felt the language of Article I, Section 27 of our State Constitution was not just an “aspirational statement,” but that the Commonwealth was the public trustee for our natural resources. The court agreed that Article I, Sec. 27 clearly states that assets of the public trust are to be used for conservation and maintenance of our public natural resources. Since every public official in Pennsylvania takes an oath to uphold the PA Constitution, every municipality is affected by the Supreme Court decision. All — from the Governor to Senators, Representatives, mayors, township supervisors and borough council members — are sworn to prevent any degradation of our public natural resources.

This decision by the State Supreme Court assures that we return to the original intent of the Oil & Gas Act of 1955, which brought us from 44 to 120 State Parks in Pennsylvania.

Our appreciation to PEDF counsel John Childe and to Senator Franklin Kury, the sparkplug who worked both sides of the aisle to ensure that Article I, Sec. 27 became a constitutional amendment in 1971.

Ed and Karen Atwood,

Warren

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