2015-08-20 / Letters

Fisherman Fears Large Hog Farm Impact On Fulton County’s Environment, Health

To The Editor:

Although it may seem inappropriate for an inhabitant of Indiana (more on this later) to offer an opinion on the health and welfare of Fulton County residents, I appreciate the opportunity to share some brief insight related to the proposal to permit large hog farming operations in your surroundings.

Personal experiences have revealed that while most Hoosiers are warm and caring people, Indiana’s ecological policies repeatedly and predictably result in standings near the bottom of national ratings on multiple health and environmental issues, a position unfortunately perpetuated by our current governor and legislative body. My concern is that South Central Pennsylvania seems to be trending in the direction of Indiana.

My relationship to your wellbeing stems from the fact that I was raised in neighboring Fort Loudon, played sports at James Buchanan High School against many teams from McConnellsburg and was taught to fly fish on the west branch of the Conococheague Creek and Buck’s (Dickey’s) Run.

Despite leaving Pennsylvania for vocational opportunities many years ago, my wife and I return to visit friends and family several weeks a year, enabling me to fly fish for trout in clear unpolluted water, a luxury not afforded to most Hoosiers. At the age of 65, I’ve purchased a Pennsylvania fishing license for 53 consecutive years (at no small expense) and have caught and released hundreds of trout in Pennsylvania streams, including the delayed harvest area near Big Cove Tannery.

My allegiance to Fulton County has unfortunately been reinforced by the fact that when returning to Pennsylvania I no longer attempt to fish the water that I was raised on. While not intending to analyze the exact nature of the environmental abuses afflicting the West Branch of the Concocheague Creek and Buck’s Run, it is apparent to any reasonable observer that sustainable aquatic life has been significantly compromised. Where insect hatches, large stream-bred native small mouth and hold-over trout used to be common, “put and take” fishing now dominate. I fear the same fate could impact Fulton County if large-scale hog farming is permitted to commence.

Although seemingly a local issue, the assurances of those who would threaten long-term environmental and personal health for short-term financial gain are the same that have contributed to the ecological debacle that is now the Susquehanna River and the Potomac watershed in general. Please take these factors into consideration when making decisions that impact your children and grandchildren, remembering that, “A society is defined not just by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.”

Sam Kegerreis
Greenwood, Ind.

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