Letter: Rep. Hurt: some clarifications

In a recent editorial [“Congressman Clone?”, Sept. 27], your newspaper suggested that the 5th district’s Rep. Robert Hurt (R-Va.) has somehow changed his views on the importance of protecting our environment. Unfortunately, your editorial is incorrect in the facts and incorrect in its conclusions.

Robert grew up in and lives now with his family in rural Southside Virginia and has demonstrated his commitment to environmental stewardship during his time as a member of the Virginia General Assembly and as member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Your editorial based its false premise on the fact that Robert had an 83 percent voting record on priorities for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters while he was in the state legislature and an 11 percent voting record on priorities for the national League of Conservation Voters since he has been in Congress. They are different entities, and it is incorrect for the paper to compare the two ratings without looking into and explaining the differences to the public. In my conversations with Robert he has not changed his support for the environment. The bottom line is that the environmental agenda for the League of Conservation Voters in Richmond is reasonable and responsible and the agenda for the League of Conservation Voters in Washington is far from reasonable and responsible and conflicts with the best interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

In Richmond, Robert consistently supported funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, the preservation of our farmland and open spaces, policies to encourage the development of renewable sources of energy and a reasonable and effective environmental regulatory structure that worked with our farmers and our businesses – not against them. Just as important, Robert and the General Assembly were able to enact these policies in the context of a balanced budget. It was support for these policies that are reflected in the Virginia League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard.

Unfortunately, the agenda for the League of Conservation Voters in Washington is quite different. In Washington, the national League of Conservation Voters supports policies that offer questionable value to the environment and instead offer a devastating impact on our American families, our small businesses and our farming families. These initiatives include a cap-and-trade national energy tax, an all-out war on the coal industry and our affordable electricity, and opposition to a common-sense domestic energy policy that would develop, in a reasonable and responsible way, the vast energy resources we have here at home. These radical policy positions in Washington have caused higher gasoline prices, higher electricity prices, higher grocery prices, lost jobs and our dependence upon foreign dictators for our energy. And we all know that Washington knows nothing about balancing its budget.

It is clear that Robert Hurt supports reasonable and responsible environmental stewardship and has not changed at all. Instead, it is the agenda of the League of Conservation Voters that has changed. I believe that Robert Hurt will stand for the people of the 5th congressional district and ensure that we maintain our quality of life in rural Virginia for ourselves and for future generations.

James W. Fletcher III

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