Getting rubbed the wrong way

Published 3:27 pm Monday, March 6, 2017

Last week, Sen. Bill Cook sponsored a bill that would tweak the language of an existing law requiring that license massage therapists be proficient in English to ensure any medical issues could be communicated clearly. Somewhere along the line there was probably a case of a massage gone terribly wrong for precisely that reason.

Also last week, the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, began a process that could dismantle the Clean Water Act, and President Trump signed the executive order to make it so. On the surface, it’s an attempt to hand back environmental authority to the states, but North Carolina, as of 2012, has a law that states that no environmental regulation will exceed the requirements of the EPA. If there are no EPA requirements, what happens then?

There is no doubt at all that the waterways — the rivers, the creeks, the streams that feed them — are Beaufort County’s greatest asset. They provide endless hours of enjoyment for many. They make this county a place of beauty. This resource draws people to resettle here from other regions of the country, lured both by low taxes and serenity. Water defines quality of life in a way other places simply cannot.

Quality of life here, however, is equal to quality of water. If the EPA dismantles restrictions on what businesses and municipalities, developers and more can dump into the river, water quality, thus life quality, disappears. If the EPA dismantles restrictions on what businesses and municipalities, developers and more can dump into small streams — the waters of which feed drinking water supplies — drinking water quality, thus a very-important-to-life quality, disappears.

Some are calling the executive order the “Dirty Water Order.” Here in Beaufort County, dirty water is not an option.

Massage clients certainly need protection, but the people of Beaufort County need assurance their waterways and drinking water also will be protected. They need to know someone will look out for their best interests, whether those best interests are being able to fish off the Jack’s Creek bridge or having a river clean enough to swim in at Grandma’s house.

Not standing up for the county’s greatest resource might just rub a few people the wrong way.