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Wednesday, 03 January 2018 16:01

Our representatives doing WNC harm

Written by 

To the Editor:

The League of Conservation Voters keeps a “scoreboard” that rates our congressional representatives and senators on their support for conservation and the environment. I was curious, so I looked up the people representing Western North Carolina: Sens. Richard Burr, R., and Thom Tillis, R., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Asheville. I was deeply disturbed by what I found out.

Sen. Tillis earned a score of 10 percent. Sen. Burr got 8 percent. Representative Meadows got a score of 0 percent. Zero.

Now even a lazy student that sleeps through class and never opens the textbook can get 25 percent on a multiple choice test just by marking random choices. You really have to work to get zero.

Of course, there is an explanation. These Republicans are just obeying orders from the Koch Brothers and other industries who get their bucks by extracting resources regardless of the damage to the air, water, or soil. The justification always offered for anti-environmental voting is that it is needed to protect the “job-makers,” the people who build up our economy and put people to work.

But here in WNC, the quality of the environment is our economy and the source of many of our jobs. Anti-environmental votes are votes against the tourism industry, the owners and employees of hundreds of motels, restaurants, shops, and other businesses that rely on people coming to enjoy our beautiful mountains, clean air, and trout-filled streams. In fact, it’s fair to say every job-maker and worker in WNC is touched either directly or indirectly by the tourist economy.

And it’s not just the tourist dollars at risk. We who live here do so in part because of our love of our natural heritage. We, too, love to hike, swim, boat, fish, hunt, and partake in all the other outdoor activities that depend on having a clean environment.

Every “anti-environment” vote is really a vote against us, the people of WNC. It’s high time we send people to Washington (and Raleigh) who get it.

Boyd Holliday

Lake Junaluska

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