Editorial: Kicking the can
In the good news, the Virginia General Assembly acted this year to reduce the amount of phosphorus based lawn fertilizer pouring into the Chesapeake Bay.
In the bad news, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a budget amendment by Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte stripping federal money for enforcement of newly-designated "total maximum daily loads" of nutrients entering the bay.
Our own Del. Harvey Morgan, in a widely-distributed letter, admonished Goodlatte for pushing this measure, noting a University of Virginia student found that "every public dollar spent on implementing agriculture best management practices would produce $1.56 in new economic activity for the locality." Meaning this would be money well invested for the economy as well as for the bay.
He continued, noting that due to the degraded condition of the bay, "Oyster shucking and picking houses have gone the way of the dinosaur. The number of jobs lost in the commercial fishing industry reach into the thousands." Morgan said that in addition to the cultural and economic loss, "our commitment to restore the Chesapeake Bay has not been fulfilled."
Here is the conundrum of contemporary government (politics would be a better word) in a nutshell. The newly-Republican House of Representatives, determined to cut the deficit in order not to pass huge debt to coming generations (kicking the can down the road), is slashing appropriations left and right.
One of those cuts, if it stands, will greatly delay the already long-deferred measures that will really improve the health of the bay. The foot that refuses to kick one can gladly punts another into the future. Yet another commitment to the recovery of our beautiful bay, broken.