Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Please stop bashing WEAN

Haven’t we had enough of WEAN bashing? It’s not the fault of that organization that county commissioners refused for years to comply with state law. WEAN did not spread the misinformation that was printed in the newspaper or sent as a blatantly biased “Property Owner Questionnaire” by Island County Planning and Development. With all these scare tactics it’s no wonder people are worried. But don’t blame it on WEAN; take responsibility for learning the facts about a law that was passed to protect you.

Once there were so few of us that poor land management didn’t make a big difference. But times change.Population growth brings urbanites pouring into rural Whidbey Island, and now every bit of pollution matters. Agricultural and home garden pesticides and herbicides are destroying fish and shellfish resources in Puget Sound. Flushed hormones and antibiotics that are dangerous to children’s development are being found in our ground water. Agricultural land is being sold and divided up for subdivisions, where paved driveways and weed-free lawns contribute far more pollution than small farms. Our health and quality of life deteriorate because of pollution.

No one is trying to take your property, only asking that you use it responsibly. On small acreage or hobby farms we can protect watersheds from grazing animals. In home gardens and micro-farming operations we can learn how to garden without dangerous pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. By requiring that more land be set aside for agriculture, farmers would have space for required buffers.

We all know we need to make changes in our lifestyle if we want to protect what we have. But for people like the Strowbridges, (Letters, May 14) it’s easier to blame an environmental safeguard organization than to take responsibility themselves. Steve Erickson of WEAN is a trained ecologist who understands the new threats we’re facing. How many of us have worked to achieve the knowledge he has, and how many would use his education to help us all? Is that “communism,” as the Strowbridges call it?

The oceans belong to all of us; if you would like to continue to eat fresh caught salmon from the Sound, are you a communist? Pure drinking water is a right we all take for granted; is this “communism,” or should clean water be reserved only for the rich (as it is in many countries already)?

WEAN did not make the rules; it is simply the organization that demands that government officials do what they are paid to do: enforce laws that protect citizens. All of us should take the time to understand the problem, then write Steve Erickson a thank you note or an apology.

Mary Fiddler

Oak Harbor

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