Navy is the least of her concerns

Published 9:07 am Saturday, February 19, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter was received The Tidewater News on the same day that Franklin City Council voted 5-2 to discontinue talks with the Navy for using the Franklin airport for pilot training.

To the Editor:

This is in reference to the Navy using the airstrip in Franklin and to an environmental permit request by Ashland Inc., formerly Hercules.

The Navy is an answer to prayer since the mill closed. It’s a smart decision to allow the Navy to use the airstrip and certainly will be a help to the common good in many ways. The airport itself is in much need of repair, which will happen if the Navy is to use it.

I am not unsympathetic to those who live adjacent to the Franklin airport. Our family moved to this area to avoid the crowds and noise, which living in a city had brought. I would never want a plane landing in my back yard, but then I would never have bought a house near an airport in the first place.

In a way, Navy planes flying overhead provide a sense of comfort, and soon area residents will not even notice the sounds as intrusion, but as protection. Progress brings with it many positives and negatives.

I find it strangely comical that pollution was mentioned as one of the negatives. The paper mill caused so much more pollution than the Navy planes will. The watershed has been affected by the paper mill, sending warm water back into the river for years.

This change of temperature caused methyl-mercury to become an element consumable by fish. Fish consumption advisories state that pregnant women and children should avoid eating any fish from many of the area rivers.

While the debate goes on about Navy planes, a request for an environmental permit (Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit) quietly emerges on the back pages of the paper from the Ashland plant, wanting to increase the water temp of the 4.9 million gallons of waste water per day already entering the waterway that we need to sustain us.

The definition of progress is to advance toward a more desirable form or condition. I believe we all need to realize, if we are to have progress, it may infringe on what we personally want.

If we are unwilling to see the more desirable form or condition for the good of all, then moving away and purchasing an island may be the best option.

Colleen Flick