Letter to the Editor: Natural resources are in danger

Editor:

The Shenandoah Valley is, in my humble opinion, the best place to live in Virginia. We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes, it has miles of publicly accessible fishing, kayaking, tubing, and swimming waters and thousands of acres of public lands for hiking, biking, camping and hunting within a 30-minute drive. However, the resources that make the valley so special are in danger.

It wasn’t long ago that the water quality of the Shenandoah River was so poor that smallmouth bass were dying by the thousands. The policies that Congressman Goodlatte supports, both locally and on a national level. will send us right back to those days. While the river has made progress, much is yet to be done. Algae blooms and bacteria threaten the health of the Shenandoah and its tributaries. Moves made by Congressman Goodlatte and the Trump EPA to restrict and undermine clean water protections threaten to bring all the improvements crashing down. Threats to the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Fund threaten headwater protections that are vital to the health of our water.

There are also concerns around the current administration’s plan to roll back protections for public lands. Between proposed cuts to the budget of the Department of the Interior, the disturbing national monument review, and clear threats of expanding oil, gas, and coal exploration on public lands, our public lands, here and nationwide, are in clear danger. Our public lands, especially the George Washington National Forest, help protect some of the most fragile features of our national heritage and our headwater streams and springs.

I call on all of our elected officials, including Senators Kaine and Warner, and Congressman Goodlatte, to work against rollbacks to public lands and to protect our clean water. Our valley depends on it.

Herschel L. Finch, conservation chairman, Izaak Walton League of Warren County, and conservation chairman, Potomac River Smallmouth Club

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