Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Gov. Robert P. Casey On Leadership: Our Problems Have Taught Us That We Cannot Continue The Mindless Practices Of The Past

Robert P. Casey served as Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995 during a time when Pennsylvania’s economy was in transition from heavy industry to service and technology.

Steel mills closed following the lead of coal mines, apparel and textile factories, and manufacturers of many sorts. Read more here.

Casey (1932-2000) grew up in Scranton in the middle of the anthracite coal field.  His father, Al Casey, left Ireland as a child with his father during the potato famine and started working in the coal fields at an early age.

Al Casey changed the family's fortune when he went to law school and returned home after graduation.

Gov. Casey saw first-hand the impact mining had on the environment and workers.  He was 27 when the Knox Mine Disaster under the Susquehanna River killed 12 coal miners in Luzerne County and permanently flooded the underground coal mines and ended large-scale anthracite mining in the Wyoming Valley.

As a result of his personal and family history, Gov. Casey was known for believing in a strong government with a responsibility to promote economic growth, provide a social safety net, protect workers and help improve people's lives.

He said "We will not tolerate pollution as the price of prosperity," and campaigned for Governor on a pledge "to forge a partnership in Pennsylvania to encourage economic development and job creation, but not at the expense of the environment."

"The simple reality is that we are now paying the price of years of neglect of the natural environment, which is Pennsylvania's greatest heritage," Gov. Casey told lawmakers in 1987, according to the Allentown Morning Call. "And if we do not act, and act quickly, then our children and their children will most certainly pay a higher price."

During his tenure as Governor, he worked with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate to pass landmark environmental laws--

-- PA Infrastructure Investment Authority to fund water infrastructure improvements;

-- Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act a state Superfund program to cleanup contaminated waste sites;

-- Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling And Waste Reduction Act to become the largest state requiring curbside recycling;

-- Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act to regulate underground and aboveground tanks;

-- Lead Ban Notification Act to ban the use of lead pipes and solder in drinking water systems;

-- Voters approved a $100  million bond issue to preserve farmland;

-- Helps establish the bipartisan Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund to support local and state recreation facilities; 

-- Established a rails-to-trails program;

-- Radon Certification Act to address the new issue of radon contamination; and

-- PA’s  Environmental Education Act to support environmental education programs.

Click Here for a more comprehensive list of laws passed.

And in a prelude to comments made by his successor in the Governor’s Office Tom Ridge, a Republican, Gov. Casey, a Democrat, said in 1988-- "Our problems have taught us that we cannot continue the mindless practices of the past. We borrow the earth from our children as much as we inherit it from our parents."

(Photo: Gov. Casey signing the Act 101 recycling law in 1988.)

Conservation Leadership:

-- Gov. Gifford Pinchot On Leadership: Collaboration And Honesty Are The Foundation Of Effective Leadership In Public Office

-- Mira Lloyd Dock On Leadership: The Old Selfish Minds Must Go. Obstructive Reactionaries Must Move On. The Young Are At The Gates

-- Ralph W. Abele On Leadership: Do Your Duty And Fear No One!

-- Rachel Carson On Leadership: The Human Race is Challenged More Than Ever Before To Demonstrate Our Mastery, Not Over Nature, But Of Ourselves

-- Gov. Dick Thornburgh On Leadership: People Living In The Chesapeake Bay States Should Not Have To Wait Another 30-Plus Years For Clean Water

-- Gov. Tom Ridge On Leadership: I Call For Pennsylvania To Be A Showcase Of Well-Reasoned And Inspired Environmental Leadership 

-- Op-Ed: New Year's Resolutions For Pennsylvania Legislators - Fair Districts PA, PA League Of Women Voters

-- 233 Stories: These Conservation Leaders Gave Us Cleaner Water, Land & Air In 2020! They Deserve Our Thanks, Our Support! 

-- Lebanon Valley College's Commitment To The Environment

[Posted: December 29, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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