State delegate warns against environmental ‘overreaching’

What happens in the Valley doesn’t stay in the Valley. So it is that Del. Todd Gilbert’s recent comments in the Shenandoah Valley town of Woodstock found their way across the Blue Ridge to Rappahannock, the easternmost portion of his constituency.

The Republican delegate was speaking at the fifth annual Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Summer Expo, July 31, when he said, as quoted in The Northern Virginia Daily:

“They stand around at wine-and-cheese parties and complain about all these things and restoring the {Chesapeake] bay…without any regard that agriculture produced the wine and cheese they are sipping on and nibbling on.”

He was referring specifically to politicians and legislators from urban areas who, he said, tend to blame farmers for the Chesapeake watershed’s problems.

In a subsequent telephone conversation with the Rappahannock News, Gilbert acknowledged that farmers were not altogether blameless and could profit from the Farm Bureau’s “best management practices” and should try to be “good stewards” of the land.

Although some funds have been cut from the state budget, he said, there are still state resources available to help farmers with riparian buffers and water fencing. This demonstrates the continuing commitment to cleaning up the bay even in these tough economic times, he said.

But Gilbert stood firm in his stated worries about “overreaching” by environmental regulations and regulators.