Large parts of many New Jersey cities and sections of New York City are built on reclaimed swamp, low land and former salt marsh going back more than 100 years of development. This is true of the more populated areas of the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Those wetlands no longer exist to capture and contain rising water.
The recent decision to build electrical transmission lines across salt marsh in Bryan and Liberty counties is typical of shortsightedness caused by dollar signs getting in front of common sense. All the public-relations talk about how ecologically responsible the parties involved with the construction are does not alleviate the fact that another measurable bite will be taken out of our vital and sensitive salt-marsh estuaries.
The bottom line is that across the marsh was the cheapest route — period. That equals higher profits. It has nothing to do with the necessity of the trunk lines. Of course, we need them. However, I do take issue with the way the project was presented to the public and suggested that the lines were for the use of Bryan County and Liberty County residents. Who knows where those lines originated and where they will end? The fact that they are an intrusion into a very sensitive and vital ecosystem remains.
Wetlands acreage steadily is shrinking in Georgia due to construction and interruption of the flow of water. We already are paying a price for the loss of wetlands, and the cost is going to go up. It seems that the powers that be in the state of Georgia could care less. The present administration is no more sensitive to issues of ecological concerns on this coast than the last one was.
It has nothing to do with jobs versus proper stewardship of our environment, or confronting some ridiculous Environmental Protection Agency rule. It’s all about greed and instant gratification. Don’t expect the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to represent the interests of the public. When a project like the transmission lines is involved, don’t expect much effort on the part of your elected politicians to represent the public’s best interests, either. It’s not the party line. It’s not that our elected representation in Atlanta is not doing good things. It is just that it continues to divorce itself from anything ecological, possibly for fear of being ostracized by its party.
It’s not about doing the right thing. It’s about job security.
Hubbard, a Richmond Hill resident, is a former Green Beret who writes an occasional column.