Gov. Northam, keep your word

On the campaign trail in 2017, then-Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam said that, if elected, he would push for “site-specific review” of all places where the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines would cross Virginia’s waters. With state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) review now in progress, he should get off the fence and protect our precious streams and wetlands. Here are two reasons the governor and DEQ cannot rely on Corps of Engineers’ nationwide 12 permits.

First, rather than requiring ACP and MVP to submit detailed plans, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permit allows builders to select “best management practices” as construction proceeds. Already a year behind schedule and with estimated costs having grown from $5 billion to $6.5 billion, site managers are likely to choose the fastest and least costly options.

When problems arise — and they will — the companies will pay the fines, which they consider “the cost of doing business” and move ahead, causing lasting damage to Virginia’s waters. For reference, a recent $430,000 fine on the Rover Pipeline in West Virginia for faulty erosion and sedimentation control amounted to only .01 percent of total project costs.

Second, it’s questionable whether “best in class” measures are sufficient for the steep slopes the pipelines would cross. As one example, Blackburn Consulting Services examined the information provided by Dominion and also did field analyses on the route of the ACP in steep terrain. Blackburn concluded that site-specific erosion and sedimentation plans are necessary to avoid “catastrophic slope failure.” A similar study for the MVP would likely come to similar conclusion.

Gov. Northam’s reluctance to do what he promised in his campaign is endangering our vital water resources and casting doubt on his credibility.



Adding to the pollution problem

I wish to thank Blue Ridge Grocery IGA in Nellysford for advancing the cause of global pollution by charging 50 cents per bag for paper grocery bags, while charging nothing for plastic bags.

This encourages use of the plastics that litter the landscape, defile our oceans and streams, choke wild and aquatic life and take 20 to 1,000 years to decompose (unless recycled, which less than 10 percent in the U.S. are). According to an article in the June 2018 issue of National Geographic (also available on the internet), an estimated 6.3 billion tons of plastic worldwide lay unrecycled as waste.

Until Glue Ridge Grocery’s policy is reversed, I will take my grocery patronage elsewhere, and I invite my friends and neighbors to do likewise.



The Trump lies continue

Oh, my, are the Republicans going to quote the Bible to support their inhumane treatment of immigrant families at the border? The Bible also says you shall be known by your works and the works of the Trump administration are not good works. They are works destroying God’s beautiful world, pitting man against man, sacrificing humanity and decency in the worship of the dollar, stealing from the poor and weak to give to the rich and now separating the little children from their parents. Trump works are evil works.

Republicans, your president has been lying to the U.S. population for more than 500 days now and the rest of the world is wondering whether any of you have the moral courage to call him out on it. The Trump/Kim summit was just two of the biggest liars on the planet promising each other things. It does appear that Kim and China came out of the meeting with a lot more on their plates, but with everyone’s words being worthless who can tell.

President Trump did more damage in the G6+1 meeting in Canada where he advertised for Russia’s Vladimir Putin (paying him back??) and aggravated just about everyone else. The world now appears to be on the brink of a Trump-orchestrated trade war that will hurt everyone by reducing economic activity and increasing costs. Everyone seems ready to retaliate against the U.S., so things are going to get tougher on the little guy. These trade wars put everyone on edge, and with a planet already suffering from over-population and climate change, there is no telling how bad this could get.

On this note, while I’m not a market timer, I’m going primarily to cash as I doubt seriously the market will do anything but retreat. It has the uncertainties of Fed interest rate hikes and the trade war to deal with.

Democrats, especially all of you who choose to spend Election Day sitting on your duffs, too lazy to go to the polls, be warned by the Republican actions in Ohio. There, if you haven’t voted for two election cycles or don’t return a mailed address confirmation form, you can be purged from the voter rolls. I expect many Republican state governments to copy this as they try their best to limit voter access to government. In many areas like Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, Democrats outnumber Republicans significantly but laziness, Republican gerrymandering and a lack of imagination and courage in Democratic leadership result in Republican success at the polls.

This must change; let’s vote the Republicans out and return some humanity and decency to the once great United States of America.

We can do so much better.



Lazy voters condemned

An 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun and asked a question because her father had told her, “If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.” The question was simple. The answer spoke to the heart of the American people. That was 121 years ago. Can any parent say the same to their child today? What has happened to us as a society and a nation? Why do we accept the abuse of the purpose of the protections given “the press”? The “elite political establishment” has closed one of the most powerful set of eyes provided by our Founders to watch over the actions of those we place in power.

It is “We the people” who have failed our Founders. The just concluded Virginia Republican Party primary election results show clearly the reason for our failure. We don’t care. Given that seven of the 11 Virginia congressional districts are represented by Republicans and the General Assembly is under Republican leadership, it would be a reasonable assumption to conclude that at least half of the 5,234,232 active registered voters would be disposed to vote Republican. So why did only 304,588 active registered voters, in the just-concluded statewide Republican state primary, vote for a Republican senatorial candidate?

How have we come to accept the outrageous conduct of those “Deep Staters” buried in the Executive Branch and the “do nothing” performance of the Congress? It is the Congress that is charged with the responsibility for oversight of the conduct of the Executive Branch. The Congress kneels and accepts the humiliation brought upon itself by the “Deep State.”

Our eyes are blinded. Our voices are silent. November will tell how close we are to “1984.”



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