Raise the banner, keep fighting

Published 6:59 pm Friday, January 24, 2020

To the Editor:

I salute Vail Rumley’s accurate and courageous coverage of pollution issues affecting our beloved Pamlico River and other water bodies across North Carolina and our nation. Specifically, articles on Dec. 31, 2019, addressing budget and staffing cuts to government environmental agencies, and the article of Jan. 23, on the Trump administration’s roll back of the Clean Water Act’s regulations defining Wetlands as part of the CWA. This is journalism at its best. Further, the relevance of these articles to Beaufort County and our great state is inescapable.

All North Carolinians have a vested interest in stopping the poisoning of our air and water, especially our Pamlico, Neuse, New Hanover and other rivers. So much of the joy of visiting or living in our coastal counties include the recreation available, the abundance of estuaries that are the foundation of our commercial and recreational fishing industry, clean ground water fed through surface water absorption, and clean air. We all depend on clean water. But, the Trump administration is taking away wetlands, the very headwaters of our magnificent creeks and rivers, from protection of the Clean Waters Act. Sadly, especially as I am a lifelong Republican, our Republican Party controlled North Carolina legislature is an accomplice to these crimes against our environment, reducing funding for our Department of Environmental Quality for environmental enforcement officers and allowing excessive poorly controlled spraying of hog waste and poultry waste close to neighboring properties, canals, streams and rivers where heavy rains and flooding send disease causing chemicals and animal waste nutrients into our waters. Note the numerous swimming notices that occurred in our beloved Pamlico River last year. Do we in North Carolina want “Green Tides,” and potentially “Red Tides” of algae blocking recreational use of the Pamlico and other rivers throughout North Carolina? Look at what is happening in Florida due to runoff from principally agriculture, poor municipal sewage controls and poorly monitored industrial pollution sources. Clearly, Florida doesn’t have the political will and leadership to effectively deal with pollution in their state. If we love North Carolina, we need to engage our state and federal elected officials in caring for our people, our land, our wetlands and rivers, and taking action on behalf of all of us. Clean air and water should be a “special interest” to every woman, child and man in North Carolina and our United States of America.

The “Big Question” is whether or not you and I are merely spectators of this problem, or, are we warriors in this fight? What does clean water mean to you? Do you get your drinking water from a ground water well? Do you know where Beaufort County’s public water comes from? What do the recreational and commercial fishing industries that create jobs in Beaufort County and surrounding counties mean to you? Do you feel ownership of what clean water means to the health of our children, our economy, and our stewardship over the bounty and wonder of God’s creation? Let’s quit being spectators. The fight is ours. Let’s be peaceful warriors and fight for clean air and water!

Thank you, Washington Daily News for great journalism in educating us to the environmental issues that affect every one of us. Please continue to do so, and educate us in how to volunteer effectively in addressing these problems. Teach us how to effectively engage our elected local, state and national elected officials. Inform us of great organizations like Sound Rivers that are effectively fighting for our Pamlico River, therefore also fighting for our health and jobs in our local, state and national economy. Raise the banner, keep fighting!

Alex A. Diffey Jr.