Appendix I: Examples From Basse Beck's 'Up and Down the River' Column

AuthorFranklin L. Kury
Appendix I: Examples From
Basse Beck’s “Up and Down
the River” Column1
Basse Beck, “Of Time, The River, and Pure Water Fairplay,
The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, December 30, 1965
is will be a rambling column. It is written to comfort and encourage the
citizens of Central Pennsylvania who are being conned into accepting the
belief that laws and court deci sions agai nst the public interest and welfa re are
immutable and not subject to change for the common good.
It is induced by thoughts which came to mind after reading a sparkling
column written by Vermont Royster, editor of the Wall Street Journal who
quotes the philosopher omas Aquinas who observed that laws not serv ing
the common weal could be changed.
It is particularly applicable to the people of Central Pennsylvania now
undergoing misery in their attempts to solve the problem of clean water due
to conicting laws and lega l interpretations of the same. It oers a ray of
hope. Way back in the Middle Ages Saint Aquinas wrote:
Nothing can be abs olutely unchan geable in things that are subject to cha nge,
and therefore human law ca nnot be altogether unchangeable.
For those who rst endeavoured to disc over something usef ul for the human
community, not being able by themselves to ta ke everyt hing into consid-
eration, set up certain i nstitutions which were decient in ma ny ways; and
these were changed by sub sequent lawgivers who made institutions that mig ht
prove less frequently decient in respect of the c ommon weal.
In Pennsylvania the time has clearly come to correct the deciencies in
the Clean Stream Law. Loopholes granting specia l privileges to the mining
interests are destroying public rights to pure water and deva luating property
prices along our streams. ere was a time when mine acid dumping into
these streams could be held to be economically justiable in a young and
growing country. at time is long past. Correction is overdue.
1. Beck wrote about sixty columns over the course of six years, and two are reproduced below.

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