Monthly Archives: May 2007

The Crap Catching Cupola

Throughout the Susquehanna River watershed, aging sewer systems discharge enormous
volumes of raw or poorly treated sewage, which eventually flow into the Chesapeake
Bay. Unless local, state, and federal lawmakers invest in prevention and cleanup, the Susquehanna will remain among the nation’s dirtiest rivers and more and more of the Chesapeake Bay will become a dead zone.
Summary from American Rivers’ Web Site


The Crap Catching Cupola
By: Joe Leonardi

The preposterous proposal of damming the Susquehanna River has been floated by Congressman Paul Kanjorski for years. On Earth Day one man

stood on the Market Street Bridge to Show his passion for stopping this obscenely ridiculous idea. During my run for Congress I wrote an editorial and filmed an internet commercial concerning damming the river. Recently I wrote a letter to the editor praising Don Williams and calling out a local talk show host who claims to be an environmentalist but supports the dam project. This dam project needs to be stopped, spread the word and help save the most endangered river in America.

Thank you.

Here is the link to the commercial, and yes that is what it looks like floating in the river:

First the letter and then the editorial:

Dear Editor,

Susquehanna River advocate Don Williams, during his radio appearance on Friday April 20th, as expected was right on the money concerning the proposed inflatable dam project. I was busy with patients and didn’t get a chance to call The Sue Henry Show, but all in my office were tuned in and not a one could understand the practical purpose of visiting the Grim Reaper upon our free flowing river.

I was surprised that the local, paternal paragon of the environmental movement, WILK’s Kevin Lynn, didn’t call in to support Don. Hang on a minute, I forgot — it seems that Kevin, who constantly cajoles that worldwide warming is going to eradicate Earth, is a strong supporter of the the fact-defying fecal farce. You would think that the gung-ho, global Gore supporter would embrace our Susquehanna Sentinel and help Mr. Williams save our regal river from the sludge stopping, destruction delivering, pumped-up pollution pocket. However, in classic do as I say not as I do liberal language, the worldly wordsmith props up the pungent project of his pet politician. Thus, Mr. Lynn’s convenient crusading for the endangered environment falls fast by the wayside in an effort to ensure the development of the crap catching cupola.

The verbose, venomous, carbon cursing curmudgeon, who several times per week drives his smog spewing automobile from Harvey’s Lake to Pittston Township to Scranton and back to Harvey’s lake, defends the damaging dam. How could the hypocritical harbinger, who wants us all to change the way we live, but chooses not to reduce his own carbon footprint by living closer to his employment endeavors, not help defeat the dam? Would any other exemplary environmentalist, insanely support the halting of mother natures cleansing perpetual motion of our sullied Susquehanna? Of course not!

I still wonder what color the sky will be in this inflatable fantasy world. Hopefully strong determination, intelligence and common sense will ensure we never find out.

Joe Leonardi


I’m not sure where the idea of damming the Susquehanna originated, but it is an idea that must cease to exist. The following are but a few of my many reasons for wanting to terminate this dam project.

1. Basic science. Rivers cleanse themselves through perpetual motion. Why in the name of science would anyone halt the essential, healing motion of a polluted river?

2. The Butler Mine Tunnel. From the EPA Web site “In 1979, an oily discharge coming from the tunnel created an oil slick on the river.”

“The oil contamination was then traced to the illegal dumping of hazardous chemicals into a four-inch borehole located 3½ miles from the outlet of the tunnel. The borehole was found to drain into the Butler Mine system.” Interestingly, there was another discharge in 1985, approximately one year after the discharge monitors were deemed no longer necessary and removed.

Does illegal dumping continue today? Possibly. Commercials still air from time to time asking people not to dump into bore holes. Obviously there is no predicting when or if there will be another discharge, but if there is, how fast will the contaminants settle in a motionless river?

Do you really want your children exposed to a “potential human risk” recreating in this contaminated lake?

3. Combined Sewer Outflows. According to the American Rivers web site there are “16 sewage outflows that pour untreated human waste into the very reach of the river where the current would pool behind the dam.”

Now we have untreated human waste and contaminants from the Butler Mine Tunnel! Who will be held responsible if someone gets sick?

4. Potential flooding. I testified at the hearing at King’s college. We were assured that in the event of flooding the dam could be deflated in 20 minutes. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad I don’t live downstream. Can you imagine a 450 acre, 4½ mile long lake rushing over your community? For the sake of argument, what happens if the river crest is underestimated? What will happen to upstream communities? We reside in a flood zone. The wrong answer could make us forget Agnes ever happened.

5. Damming the river is not necessary. I am astonished to be told, that unless we dam the river we cannot utilize it. Well I’m sorry but that is just plain old hogwash. A free-flowing river can be just as vital a community centerpiece as any lake.

6. A tourist mecca? We need to honestly examine what we are being sold. With our proximity to the Poconos, the shore, Atlantic City, the Finger Lakes, New York and Philadelphia are we to believe that a polluted, man-made, mini-lake is going to become the tourist destination of the northeast?

7. Political will. I’ve heard that this may create the political will to clean the river. Well, that is flat out the sorriest statement I have ever heard about past and current leaders. The free-flowing Susquehanna River is our heritage and plain and simple it must be saved.

Joe Leonardi



Filed under American Rivers, Congressman, Inflatable Dam, Kevin Lynn, NEPA, Northeast Pennsylvania, Paul Kanjorski, Sue Henry, Susquehanna River, Wilkes-Barre

My Appearance on WYPR’s The Mark Steiner Show

“They made me out to be this little girl Rambo from the hills of West Virginia who went down fighting, it was just not true.”
Jessica Lynch

My Appearance on WYPR’s The Mark Steiner Show
Joe Leonardi

This past Wednesday I had the honor of being asked to participate as a panelist on National Public Radio affiliate, WYPR’s The Mark Steiner Show out of Baltimore Maryland. Others on the panel were; writer for The Nation Joshua Kors and Sheldon Rampton, Research Director for the Center for Media & Democracy. I was invited because of my column, “True American Heroes”, regarding the not so factual initial claims concerning the death of Pat Tillman.

I must admit I was a little surprised when I received the phone call from WYPR. Considering I live in Northeast PA and, though I was a congressional candidate, I didn’t think I was recognized out of good old NEPA. However, the producer of the show came across my web site and after a brief conversation, I accepted his invitation. I didn’t do a lot of prep work as they called just a few hours before air time, however I get the impression I may have been called to offer the Conservative view on the topic under discussion. I was treated with a great deal of respect by host Mark Steiner. I really did not interact with Mr. Kors or Rampton, but the discourse was enlightening. Perhaps if we weren’t all in general agreement that the Bush administration, in an effort to solidify and increase support for the war, exaggerated and misled the American people concerning the aforementioned Patrick Tillman and Jessica Lynch, the exchanges may have been more direct and more heated.

There are very few things I am bipartisan about, if anything I relish partisanship. What is the point of a two party system if we are always in agreement. However, there are events that transcend partisan politics and I can not comprehend how there can be two sides of the mythification of Corporal Tillman’s death or Private Lynch’s capture and subsequent rescue.

I would like to take a moment on something two of the callers mentioned near the end of the show that I didn’t really have a chance to address. The callers made reference to how the news media is not covering the fact that “Big Oil” is behind the war. It was implied that there is some kind of conspiracy to hide this fact.

Listen up everyone; the reason the media is not reporting that part of the driving force behind the Iraq War is oil — it is not news. You either have to still be in kindergarten or living under the world’s largest rock not to realize that oil is behind every action that takes place in the Middle East. If not for oil there would be no interest in the vast desert expanses known as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, et al..

Of all the “reasons” given for our meddling in Iraq the one I would be able to live with the most would be to ensure the free flow of oil. The unfortunate truth is that oil is the lifeblood of the United States and most global economies. Crude is the lube that makes everything go. I just wish that all the folks who see conspiracies everywhere would take a moment and just think it out. You are not speaking some great revelation when you state that the war is about oil. When people state that it is being covered up, that there is a grand conspiracy they are, in fact, showing their illiteracy regarding geo-politics. When we roll our eyes at such revelations we aren’t rolling our eyes in disbelieve — we are rolling them at obvious naiveté.

To those who scream and chant no blood for oil — I challenge you to give up your car, give up your computer, don’t heat your home this winter, don’t take airplanes, and on and on. The free flow of oil is in our National interest. Please let us not forget that also when the price of oil goes up, it causes the price of everything else to increase.

Regretfully, there has been no stabilization of the global price of crude oil. The large swings in the world oil prices are another direct effect of the Bush administration’s failure to execute and manage the Iraq War and ensuing occupation. To that end we must break our reliance on foreign oil.

Joe Leonardi


Filed under cheney, Conservative, Democratic, Iraq, Jessica Lynch, Liberal, Mark Steiner, NeoCon, Pat Tillman, President Bush, Radio, Republican, War