Editorial: A reasoned analysis
To our readers: If you have progressed this far in the paper and missed Delegate Harvey Morgan’s article on the front page, please go back to read it.
Del. Morgan, wrapping up a distinguished career in the General Assembly, delivered a reasoned analysis on the state of the Chesapeake Bay. He also delivers more than one good reason to get on with cleaning up the bay—finally—and suggests more than one way to get there.
His lifetime spent in Virginia’s Tidewater has witnessed the eclipse of the once-powerful oyster industry; the rapid decline of crabbing; the alarming near-disappearance of fish species that once upon a time, and not only in the distant past, brought good money to local households.
The economic and environmental health of the bay is not abstract theory to Del. Morgan. He grew up with the men who worked on local waters. His family did business with their families. The watermen and the fish docks and the hardware, paint and wood companies that supported them were a big part of the local economy. When the fish disappeared, many of the other businesses and jobs did also.
The bay also draws tourists from far and wide to enjoy its beaches and scenic vistas, to play in its waters and sample its delicacies. How long will they continue to come when they are greeted with increasingly polluted and condemned waters?
Del. Morgan makes a gentle point about the "stakeholders" who have put up some resistance to the cost of the long-deferred bay restoration. He implies that if the money could be spent, the mighty seafood economy might roar back … a result making the cost worthwhile.
It’s not all economics either. Those of us fortunate enough to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the Chesapeake Bay have a moral duty to insure that our children, and their children, can enjoy it as well.