Our healthy environment and strong local economy bind us together

As a Warren Wilson student originally from Virginia, I moved to Western North Carolina because of the beautiful natural scenery and the strong environmental movement. This region’s magnificent natural heritage and environmental ethic has provided the foundation for a truly unique and sustainable local economy — from organic and local breweries, to all kinds of adventure outfitters, to a strong and growing local foods movement. Indeed, when I talk to other students here, most are attracted to local colleges for the same reasons. We’re drawn to this area because of the natural beauty, vibrant local economy and community-wide concern for environmental justice and health.

Our healthy environment and strong local economy bind us together, and create a sense of pride for the citizens of this area, not to mention a valuable draw to companies, students and professionals looking to move here. We need to maintain the health of our environment for our economy — and community — to thrive.

It seems blatant that the General Assembly’s efforts to strip away environmental protections are a total loss for WNC. While some corporations would likely achieve higher profits from less regulation, this is not in the best interest of our local economy. They will just be dumping their costs on the taxpayers, and in the long term these actions will be devastating. The notion that our legislators would undo regulations to benefit these interests over the health and safety of our vibrant community is quite frankly insulting to all citizens of this area.

— Stefan Janjic

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