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Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Pittsboro, NC - Mr. Kirkman's criticism appears to be illogical and poorly founded. I am sure that in some faction of liberal logic, it is sound. But since he are using only the two factors, "environment" and "jobs," to judge the alignment, the critique is short sighted and weak.
There is no conflict between the two, a priori. However, since the battle grounds between the two were founded fifty years ago, the effect has been to curtail indusry and business for the "benefit" of the environment. These laws and regulations have cost industry and business so much that jobs are at stake. Agencies which employ tens of thousands of workers across the country were invented for environmental enforcement and regulation. Taxes, for the most part, pay for these workers, their places of employment and the processes used for enforcement. The price is extremely high.
Employers have fled this country for decades, not only for that reason, but also for labor and regulatory compliance and fee based costs. We have lost most industry to foreign competition. Finally, Congress and the president officially gave away our industry with NAFTA in 1993.
Where is our tax revenue and personal income generated? Simple question. Is it coming from tax dollars spent to revive a failing economy? Is it coming from taxes paid by plumbers, mechanics, lawyers, landscapers, and other service providers? Is it coming from the home building/construction sector which has stalled to a standstill?
When half of our county is suffering from loss of jobs and unemployment, when industry and business have fled our county, when people have trouble buying necessities, much less paying taxes, there is a basic problem with the local economy. For those who still receive a paycheck, there appears to be no problem. However, lack of awareness is not a sound basis for any argument or opinion.
Please become aware of the true state of our economy before making a weak link, based in very old political logic and habits. The conservative BOC has ruled in favor of the environment several times and done so in conflict with business values. Zoning of the area east of Lake Jordan is one example. Enforcing laws and regulations at the state level by rule is another.
The "green solutions" to which you refer require high capitalization and provide a fraction of energy needs for the users. We have a few large solar farms, approved unanimously by the BOC, providing electricity for county residents. We have strict water quality building rules well above state standards. We have setbacks which protect our waterways far in excess of state requirements, building codes which require onsite sediment and runoff control, environmental health inspectors who demand more septic line than needed.
Now, what part of "green solutions" are we lacking under this conservative BOC majority? Wind farms? - impractical for NC and Chatham. Organic farming? - we are a leader in both the state and the nation. Electric cars? - I've seen many Prius and other hybrids on our roads. Total electric cars are impractical for normal commuting in our area anyway, not enough range.
Please elucidate your criticism with some facts and history. I want to be absolutely politically, historically and factually correct in my stand. But from my uneducated opinion, we are doing a fine, praiseworthy job trying to bridge the gap between jobs and the environment. The Haw River is cleaner than it has been in forty years, as is the Cuyahoga. The industries which polluted them are gone, not regulated into compliance.
I ask some questions of you personally. What level of compassion do you have for your fellow human being? Which of your personal values tells him/her/it that he/she/it cannot have a job if a "green solution" is not part of it? From where will come his income for feeding his family and providing a place to live? Do we throw away a generation so that your ideal version of a green world can be installed?
Or is the basic question what balance can be achieved for humans to survive and live with dignity while we pave the road for a better environment And are humans part of your ideal environment or at odds with it?
Tom Glendinning is a businessman of 41 years and co-founder of the Haw River Assembly.
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