Dear Ms. Porterfield,
Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts. My name is Anne Stewart. I am a resident of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. My spouse and I have raised our two children here and we all share a love of beauty of the Valley. We continue to make memories connecting with each other in nature – from the shores of Cape Charles to hiking the AT we find ourselves enriched, sustained, and in awe of the wonder that surrounds us. And we are concerned. Concerned that not all our citizens can participate in enjoying our common natural wealth and concerned that nature is not sufficiently protected.
I was heartened by Virginia’s efforts to address environmental justice by hiring a director and coordinators and believe it is crucial to continue to attend to this issue by increasing representation of all communities – especially those disproportionately and negatively impacted. Active outreach and having variety of ways to receive information from the effected communities is vital – current accessibility to information and, thus, participation, is limited.
As you assert,
“Everyone whose health and environment may be potentially affected by activities should be sought out and included in decision-making. To be successful we must find a way forward – together – using a transparent and inclusive process.”
Please act on this statement to
Thank you for your good work.