Published in the Daily Item, Opinion Page
The Daily Item has a section called "My Turn" on the opinion page which is intended to encourage local views and opinions. The sidebar titled “Local Voices” states that “‘My Turns’ are longer opinion articles written by local residents who have expertise in the topic being addressed.” However, the paper has been failing to adhere to this policy. Over the past year, at least two non-local residents have authored “My Turns.”
The first writer, Terry Jarrett, argued that the carbon emissions standards for coal power plants in the Clean Power Plan would make electricity excessively expensive. He lives in Missouri and has represented the coal industry multiple times in court. Six articles similar to the one that appeared in the Daily Item have been published with his byline in over 17 newspapers across the country since last October. The second writer, David Williams, claimed that a marginal tightening of the state’s ground level ozone standards would destroy Pennsylvania’s economy. He is the president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a group that receives significant funds from fossil fuel industry tycoons Charles and David Koch via other Koch-controlled groups. He lives in Virginia and has published many op-eds in defense of various polluting industries.
Clearly neither of these people are local residents, and their writing should not be published under the label of “My Turn.” What’s more, these non-locals are paid by the industries they are defending.
We in Central Pennsylvania really do need a space to discuss these very important issues and their local impact. We request that the Daily Item keep its commitment to reserving space specifically for local voices as stated. We request that the staff research where these articles are coming from before publishing.