Reader: We deserve straight answers on power lines' effects
Thanks to all who came out recently to hear Tom Aley's talk on karst topography and why all those who live in the Ozarks need to understand how very porous and fragile the ground can be, and how vulnerable our water systems are to contamination from a variety of sources. A big thank you to the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks for donating the use of a meeting room in the Convention Center for Mr. Aley's presentation.
Whether it's big energy companies insisting that they need to build giant transmission lines across scenic landscapes, or multi-national corporations pushing for industrial hog farms in sensitive watersheds, we are being told that to question such developments is to be against "progress."
As citizens, we have not just the right to demand straight answers and proof of due diligence, but an obligation to do so when it comes to our shared environment and resources. The fact is that if we don't defend the quality of life we enjoy in the Ozarks, no one else is going to.
In North Carolina, several thousand factory hog farms have degraded rivers and wrecked property values. Duke Energy, also located in North Carolina, just last week had a major spill of coal ash and wastewater from a retired coal plant that fouled the Dan River. And in West Virginia, a chemical spill forced hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses to stop using their tap water. All were preventable, but should it take calamity for us to realize what's at stake?
In the latest edition of the Ozark Society newsletter there was a quote by Neil Compton who spearheaded the fight to preserve the Buffalo River. He said "The challenge goes on. There are other lands and rivers, other wilderness areas to save and share with all. I challenge you to step forward to protect and care for the wild places you love best."
Certainly these places include the hills and hollows, springs and caves of Northwest Arkansas, as well as our magnificent rivers. Dr. Compton's plea reaches from the past to speak to us all.
-- Lin Wellford