The Chesapeake Bay is the largest and most important tributary in the history of our great nation. As my grandfather, Donald Faulkner once told me, “Bunk, fortunes have been made on her, wars have been won and many hearts have been broken out on that water.”
To me the Chesapeake Bay is home. Her tide ebbs and flows with my heartbeat and it is a bittersweet relationship I have had with her. As I write this, my memories flash back to when I was four years old learning to crab, fish and tong with my father on his work boat. Then it moves forward to a fateful February day in 1979 when the words of my grandfather again ring in my memory as he pointed out to the bay from the parking lot of the old Tilghman Packing Company and he said, “Bunk, your father and your Pop-Pop George are out there somewhere. The boat sank but they are going to find them soon.” I lost my father, Muir Cummings, my grand father George Cummings, my Uncle Garland Phillips and two cousins, T.R. and Rusty Cummings.
My world changed.
I wasn’t mad at her. I didn’t hate her. I learned above all else to respect her.
Many may wonder why write something so personal on a campaign website? Because the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay is very personal to me. Even more so, I am deeply concerned that very little through more regulation is going to make any difference for a variety of reasons.
First, the increase in population in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed over the past 50-60 years has been tremendous. Mostly the growth around Washington, DC is where this growth has been happening. There has been growth on the Eastern Shore, but not as much in the DC area. Along such tremendous growth comes the waste that is produced and most of that flowed from the Potomac River where raw sewage spilled along with a few other incidents. Ironically this was government controlled entities.
It is even more ironic that with this population growth and increase in pollution, the increase in political corruption and it’s stench is even worse, but that is another post.
Secondly, I fear that lobbyists from both sides of the issue are so far apart that little will get accomplished between them. One group says things are improving and the other group says things are getting worse. Scientists from both groups contradict each other and all are asking for more money.
Third, I grow more and more leery of those that propose more regulations because so much has been enacted and the observation of the attempts at controlling crabs and rock fish was a big mess.
On another note, I did view a program recently where a diver was shooting under water video near Poplar Island. The video was of an artificial reef which was placed there several years back and it showed the aquatic life was returning. Specifically delicate life such as Sea Horses were observed. Which is good news but it does not tell the story of the Bay as a whole.
I believe that there may be one idea that would be worth investing in: cattail. Cattail has been used successfully all over the world in reducing runoff from farms and waste water treatment plants. They grow all year and have many other uses that could be beneficial economically. Certainly this might not be “the” answer or solution to the problem as a whole but it could be an important piece to the puzzle.
As I conclude this post, I wish to express that though some may see my being a Libertarian contradictory to caring for the Environment, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe a balance must be struck between Environmental responsibility and individual liberty.
Many people are passionate about the Bay and her current state. Many of us have sacrificed so much to her over the years. Let’s honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, who have toiled on her waters for so long and work together in rational tones with all who have a stake. Ensuring that we respect property rights, individual liberty and finding common sense solutions together is the key in solving this and every issue.