As a long time boater and Bay health advocate I hesitate to throw a pail of cold (even tepid brackish) water on the idea of states ceding Bay health to the counties, as reported in the September issue (PA hands over lead for Bay cleanup plans to counties), but economic reality intrudes.

Counties' first objective is to make their budget without raising general taxes, so revenue from industries, agricultural producers and developers is vital. Counties will always favor revenue over expense, as most will view Bay cleanup measures despite long-range forecasts of their economic benefits. County boards are seldom long-range people.

I fear that the Bay's needs will finish a distant second place behind the counties' revenue needs.

This is the real-life example of the "commons" supported by the many for the benefit of all. That's why we have National Parks, not because the local governments of those areas decided to set aside land to be enjoyed mostly by non-residents of their jurisdictions.

States are equipped to make improvements to benefit all their counties, just as the federal government makes (or talks about) improvements to benefit all the states.

I'll be interested to learn the results of Pennsylvania's approach. I hope the Bay Journal remains assertive in learning its results.

David Kirby

Montross, VA

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