December 28, 2014
Times-Tribune, Scranton

A beautiful article by Chris Kelly inspires us to enter the New Year with optimism and to continue our commitment to protecting our area so that spring really will be bigger than a change in the weather.

As 2014 drags its calloused feet, the past refuses to step aside. This year saw the first same-sex marriage performed at the Lackawanna County Courthouse and a proposed expansion of Keystone Sanitary Landfill that would build a mountain of out-of-state trash in the heart of our valley over the next 50 years.

There were many big stories in 2014, but these two best illustrate the crossroads at which we impatiently idle.

Some hard hearts in our valley would rather welcome a toxic monument to greed than accept a committed couple sharing a life that impacts no one else. No one will be harmed if this historic couple manages to stay together a half-century. If Mount Trashmore is allowed to rise over 50 years, every living soul in our valley — except the elite few who will profit — will regret it.

Meanwhile, a small but committed group of citizens stood up against Mount Trashmore and the legacy of the coal barons. They have every reason to assume the jury is stacked against them, but they won’t back down. They have put their names and livelihoods on the line. Phony, anonymous martyrs need not apply.

As I write this, we’ve gone a dozen days without a peek of sun. I can’t see the molten catalyst of tomorrow, but I know it’s there. The clouds that obscure it will soon pass. The clouds of doubt and fear seeded by the coal barons and their descendants will take longer to dissipate, but at least they finally face honest opposition.

Suddenly, spring seems bigger than a change in the weather.