Volume 12, Issue 50 ~ December 9 - December 15, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters — with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at editor@bayweekly.com. Or Click Here to Submit Your Letters Online.

Enough Said; Just Do It!

Dear Bay Weekly:
This is in response to Bill Burton’s column in the November 18-24 issue [Vol. XII: No. 47]. Bill: like you, I am no spring chicken, and, like you, I am fed up with the lack of action concerning Chesapeake Bay. But your final words are totally untrue. It’s not “Enough said.”

As I read the column “What Everyone Wants to Know about the Chesapeake,” I cheered out loud.

However, as I got near the end of the article I recognized the same old pabulum I have experienced since coming to the Chesapeake area a decade ago. The article wraps up with yet more questions. After 50 years, more questions to be answered. Enough is enough! We all know what’s wrong and what must be done. It’s so obvious a child could prescribe it. Just do it! Extending the process of the last 50 years will result in the Chesapeake rivaling the sewers of Rangoon. It’s already very sick.

Action, folks! Action! Immediate and decisive action is what is needed, and you all know it without any more schooling, without any more questions to be answered. Just do it!

Some of you may still be asking, What action am I talking about? Okay, hike up your pants and tighten your belt. Let’s start with an immediate moratorium on harvesting any and all filter feeders. You heard that right. They’re the last lines of defense. That means oysters, mussels, menhaden, etc. Zero … Cipher … Nothing to be taken until the health of the Bay is self-sustaining. And I mean the whole Bay from the Susquehanna to the Capes. I’m sorry if this crimps the style of an increasingly small number of watermen, but they are a big part of the problem. Let the menhaden boat fleet go out to sea from Norfolk or elsewhere.

Number two, start immediately redesigning sewage treatment plants to completely overhaul waste treatment to a state-of-the-art condition in the entire Chesapeake watershed — not just two or three plants, as I hear being suggested.

Yes, I hear you. It’s very expensive. That’s why we have governments. But I offer that it won’t cost each of us much at all. The costs can be spread over a large tax base and amortized over 30 years, or any other length of time, through a bond issue. Federal and state moneys should also be part of the equation. Just get going on it!

If that doesn’t satisfy, then let’s get the federal government actively involved. After all, the Chesapeake is an interstate waterway and should fall under federal hegemony anyway. If a road system travels from state to state, the federal authorities take ownership. Why not water? This would address the interstate squabbling that has prevented action on behalf of the Bay. Just do it!

There are many more elements I could mention, but just these two things may be enough by themselves to save our beloved heritage and asset. I applaud the soft-spoken efforts of organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, who try to increase public awareness, but unfortunately they don’t get the job done.

We want the Bay back! So get off your collective tails and get on the behinds of your elected representatives with a strong message to get in the action or pack their bags. Maryland and Virginia depend on a healthy Bay, and it is Maryland and Virginia that are strangling it to death. Act now or forget about it.

—Dave Gauntt, St. Leonard

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