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Why does Barley oppose saving farms from sludge?


Lancaster New Era
November 7, 1997


Editor, New Era:

I just read the article "Demos eye tough sludge controls; hit Rep. Barley" that ran Oct. 28, in the New Era.
This article points out that state representatives want new laws to regulate and control the dumping of sludge on farmland, an ongoing practice that is out of control.

Rep. John Barley of Lancaster County is opposed to legislation and new laws to protect farmland from sludge dumping. Why is Rep. Barley opposed to stricter laws?
Rep. Barley and members of his family are the leaders in "sludge dumping" in Lancaster and York counties. They have made millions hauling and "dumping' sludge (human waste) on farmland.

Rep. Barley and his brother started out with 60 acres and since his election to the state House to be your representative, he and his family have amassed 3,000 acres "serving you." Are trucks, backhoes and bulldozers with blades the tools to plant and harvest crops?

How many tons of human waste (sludge) do they haul away from LASA and other municipalities for $50 per cubic year? Maybe LASA would like to give the newspaper an updated report on their new plans for sludge? What are the chances?
Lancaster County has an environmental committee and maybe they would like to show you their records on visits to sludge sites.

Is it possible that the state DER, the county and the local people involved never checked sludge sites? Until a reputable person comes forth, we have to believe that pollution of surface water, ground water and streams, soil contamination, odor on sites and oder near resident sites, rodents, birds, animals on and near residents and insects coming from waste sites have never taken place. Maybe reporters from the New Era can find this information.

The New Era article reports on a current York County controversy. The residents are protesting a decision by county officials and the State Farmland Protection Board to pay $941,000 to Barley and his family for a preservation easement on a 7111-acre farm in the county. Reports are that Barley dumped sludge on some of this land. Did he break any laws, since sludge dumping is not considered farming? Funds to preserve farmland were never intended for sludge dumping.

Why would Rep. John Barlye attend a hearing in another district in Lancaster County and be supportive of importing sludge from New York state and why would he be opposed to state laws and the residents living here?
What is Rep. Barley's opinion on the tomato greenhouses? To grow these greenhouse tomatoes, sludge and water (lots of water) are needed- maybe more than you have in that area- and during dry spells, who will get the water?

Rep. Camille George of Houtzdale said, "the spreading of sludge in this state has grown unchecked, and it is safe to say it is out of control.

Rep. H. William DeWeese of Greene County said, with Barley "personally involved up to his ears, not necessarily in sludge but in sludge issues, then I think we're up against the proverbial brick wall." If voters of Rep. Barley's party cross over in Barley's next re-election bid, that brick wall will come tumbling down.

Dick Pugh
Lancaster