Strangely, Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is fighting federal efforts to save Chesapeake Bay from pollution. Without any public announcement, Morrisey quietly joined other conservatives around America by filing a U.S. Appeals Court brief against limits on toxic runoff into rivers feeding the bay.
The Baltimore Sun commented:
"Let's all be embarrassed for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is one of the rogue attorneys general despite his state's past commitment to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Clearly, Mr. Morrisey ought to spend a bit more time safeguarding his own drinking water supply in the wake of the devastating chemical spill in Charleston last month and less on undermining efforts to reduce pollution in neighboring states."
As a weekend commentary outlined, the Chesapeake Bay once was contaminated almost to death -- partly by manure and fertilizer runoff from Eastern Panhandle farms, among other sources. Fish populations dwindled until the fishing industry and food supply were nearly wiped out. Water sports and recreation were threatened. Congress passed emergency laws to save the majestic bay. Three decades of cleanup have partly rescued the Chesapeake.
The Sun said Morrisey and other right-wing attorneys general are waging "what amounts to a declaration of environmental war." It added:
"There are parts of this country where it's become politically advantageous to be against whatever the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency is for. The Republican Party has so vilified the federal agency that it is simply assumed that every regulation it promulgates is anti-jobs, anti-free market and anti-American -- as if countries with lax environmental regulations such as China and Russia posed an opportunity for anything other than cancer clusters."
West Virginia is one of those parts of America. For years, many of this state's politicians -- Democrat and Republican -- have denounced federal safeguards against spoilage and ravages, claiming that they hurt the coal industry (but coal is fading mostly because of economic factors).
The Baltimore paper is right: Morrisey is an embarrassment.
Morrisey should stop being a champion of pollution in the name of West Virginians.