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"Virginia is a Natural"

"Much of our economy and quality of life depends on the environment’s health"

In an article published in the Daily Press on Sunday May 15, 2005 W. Tayloe Murphy Jr., Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, states that "...the foundation of our quality of life and indeed our economic prosperity is based on our natural resources." Like so many other so-called "environmentalists", Mr. Murphy is troubled to hear folks talk about economic development in Virginia in terms of the amount of concrete poured or the number of factories that have opened. When there is talk of job losses, they "...never seem to take notice of the incremental losses in employment resulting from dwindling natural resources."

One example supporting the proposition that economic health of the commonwealth depends on the health of natural resources is the seafood industry. Others are forestry, agriculture, and tourism. "We must constantly challenge the notion that natural resource conservation is a luxury we can only afford to support in good financial times." We all benefit from clean air, clean water, protected open space and preserved historic buildings and sites. Murphy goes on to say that " seems clear to me that we must better understand and account for the value of our natural resources in economic terms..."

While serving in the House of Delegates, Mr. Murphy served on the Year 2020 Panel, a panel created to examine the implications of population growth and development on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Commission stated in their final report that they were "devastated by the lack of growth management and planning... the lack of comprehensive sate and regional planning, uncoordinated public investment strategies, and undirected problem solving contribute greatly to the current problems of the watershed. Unless changed, this lack of clear policy and direction will compound future problems." These findings hold true 17 years later. It is apparent that the protection of Virginia’s historic and natural resources must take its rightful place among the 'core functions' of the state’s government. Until recently, preservation and conservation have always been at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to financial support.

As advocates for the conservation of Virginia's natural resources and preservation of our heritage and history, we must be on solid ground both legally and morally. Virginian's understand that "conservation adds to their wealth, their happiness, their physical and spiritual health, and the well-being of their families, friends and neighbors."

{for the full article, see the Outlook section, Virginia is a natural, in the Daily Press, Sunday, May 15, 2005}