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... & a flaccid barker

| Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The clear-cutting of chaste forest at Rolling Rock Farms is a tale of rules broken and connections unspoken.

First, there's the matter of permitting. The second, larger round of clear-cutting began only after necessary permits were granted. But given the ecological carnage being wrought, the issuers clearly have bark for brains.

And who can forget that the first spate of clear-cutting was done without permits -- permits that were curiously issued ex post cutto , so to speak, only after this newspaper blew the foghorn.

But there's something even more insidious with the rape of Rolling Rock. The very agency that's supposed to bird-dog such things and one we expect to squawk the loudest -- the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, based in Pittsburgh -- is sitting on its hands.

Why• Money. Nearly $20 million over the past five years, to be exact.

One of the conservancy's largest single benefactors is the Richard King Mellon Foundation, which oversees Rolling Rock's operations.

Despite its mission to "protect ... exceptional places ... for present and future generations," the conservancy says it typically doesn't involve itself in "individual property issues" and that it's not "an advocacy organization."

It's the kind of weasel-worded buncombe that will only ensure there will be a second sequel to the chain saw massacre at Rolling Rock Farms.

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