Earth Day 2017

This has been one of the craziest Springs I can remember in a long time for me. Lots of life-altering events, both small and large. And although we’re supposed to roll with the punches and we’ve all heard that old saying “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well if that’s true…anybody want to see me flip a car over?

There’s may be big changes coming in my life, but as you can imagine, there’s big changes, or there are people who would like to *see* big changes happen in our laws and regulations that protect our environment. If they get their way, the Clean Water Rule we fought so hard to get in place 2 years ago goes away, along with the entire EPA. I’m old enough to remember what our country and our local waters were like prior to the existence of the EPA and the Clean Water Act. Trust me, you don’t want to go back to that. They will deregulate the use of coal and oil in the generation of power, and they will be permitted to dump the resulting coal ash and residue from that anywhere they please. Fracking towers for natural gas will be the unregulated norm, all along both the eastern and western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains.

As we approach Earth Day on the 22nd of April, lots of us environmental activists have redoubled our efforts both in writing for our local waters and contacting and talking to our local legislators and our national representatives up on Capitol Hill. My most recent trip up to the Hill was with representatives of The Virginia Conservation Network, and The National Wildlife Federation. We were discussing ways to preserve the Clean Water Rule with the Environmental Policy assistants for Senator Tim Kaine and Senator Mark Warner. I love going up on the Hill for these meetings, especially in the Spring. Say what you will about DC (and the traffic…aarrrggh!!) but Moisuier’ L’Enfant sure knew what he was doing when he laid out our nation’s capital. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Besides, lunch at the Russell Senate Office building in the Southside Buffet is pretty tasty.

But here’s a revelation I had after this most recent meeting. I use to think that a lot of this was window dressing for politicians; that these visits were sort of a Kabuki Dance to show the folks back home they’re on top of (insert your favorite hot button issue here) and working for them. But it occurs to me that politicians, regardless of what they try to make you think, cannot possibly have *all* the knowledge and expertise they need to serve the people of this nation. They need people like you and me, to give advice, to let them know what’s going on “back home”, and how local people feel about their work, the policies coming out, or NOT coming out of Washington.

So on this Earth Day, stop and think a moment about what *you* would like protected, what regulations you would like to see in place to protect your local waters or environment in general. And then write a letter, and/or make a phone call to your Senators and Congressional Representatives and let them know. Here’s a hint, a personal letter, sent by USPS has to be opened by office staff and read. And phone calls to their office are logged and summarized for your DC Reps. Emails are easily ignored. The other 2, not so much. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll be doing a world of good.

Go get involved and help protect your and your kids and grand-kids world.

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