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Posted at 1:04 PM ET, 06/ 4/2009

The Lifestyle Behind the Bay's Decline

By Vince Rinehart

By Nell Williamson

Gerald W. Winegrad and Howard Ernst rightly placed blame for the dying Chesapeake Bay on regional leaders’ ongoing vacillation. However, the authors of “A Bay Full of Broken Promises” got it only half-right.

A central force behind our politicians’ soft commitment to bay restoration is unintentionally summarized by a letter published the same day as their article. In “The Most Hostile Place for Cars,” Jamie Rose of Washington, fed up with the problems of owning a car in the District, foresees a “better” car-oriented life in the suburbs. Never mind that this perception is illusory: Driving in suburban Maryland or Virginia is no better, and possibly even worse, than in the District. Ms. Rose will join thousands of other half-hearted environmentalists in the suburbs who are not willing to suffer the changes — particularly strict limits on road building and development — that are needed if there is to be any hope of saving the bay.

As long as majorities of voters demand or acquiesce to more roads, such as the intercounty connector, and the suburban expansion that results, politicians will safely do the bidding of those related lobbies in the state legislature, while talking up bay restoration.

And the bay will continue to decline.

By Vince Rinehart  | June 4, 2009; 1:04 PM ET
Categories:  Chesapeake Bay, environment, wildlife  
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