Sportsmen Talk Clean Air at Walden Pond
On a gorgeous day at Walden Pond, in Concord Massachusetts, sportsmen and others gathered to talk about the clean air act. As visitors fished in the shady edges of the pond and kayakers and swimmers paddled by, sportsmen spoke of their passion for the outdoors and the need to stand strong for clean air and clean water to preserve our outdoor heritage.
Mark Jester, the President of the Berkshire County Sportsmen League, read a quote from Silvio O. Conte, a republican who represented Massachusetts for 16 terms in congress: “ the problem of preservation boils down to is this–ducks can’t vote, trees can’t vote, neither can salmon, flowers, mountains or rivers. It is incumbent upon us as sportsmen to take on this weighty responsibility to serve this as our greatest constituency”.
Jim Wallace of the Gun Owner’s Action League joked that Thoreau would have been horrified to know that the fish he used to catch Walden pond could now kill him, due to mercury contamination from air pollution. Walden Pond is one of 125 waterways in Massachusetts that has a mercury fish advisory, primarily due to coal burning power plants. Most if not all of the waterways in New England that have had fish tested have shown moercury contamination.
David Glater of the Greater Boston Chapter of Trout Unlimited lamented the fact that we are putting our natural heritage and our children’s health at risk through air pollution that makes asthma worse and makes it harder to get them out of doors. “We want kids to fish and ot get outdoors, but we need to make it safe for them”.
Bob Durand, Massachusetts Energy and Environment Secretary under two Republican governors, spoke about the need for congress to let the Environmental Protection Agency do its job when it comes to mercury. “Congress needs to let the Environmental Protection Agency do its job and let them protect our health.” He pointed out that mercury was an issue that had a solution in hand when he was secretary, but regulations to safeguard health did not get passed then. “Now is the time, we can do this safely and affordably”, said Durand.