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Reading about local efforts to water down Maryland clean water initiatives causes one to wonder if some county commissioners really are concerned about the citizens of St. Mary’s County. Commissioner Cindy Jones seems to feel that state clean water efforts are an undeserved imposition on the counties, when local land-use decisions through the years are a large part of the problem.

Approvals for ill-conceived strip development and housing subdivisions without regard for the environmental consequences are granted right here in Leonardtown. The old business sections of Lexington Park languish while developers are encouraged through zoning ordinances to mow down miles of forest often on steep, highly erodible slopes to create the Lexington Park all-the-way-to-Waldorf Development District. Many a rainy day causes Mill Creek to run the color and consistency of café latte with muddy discharge from various developments and road projects in California.

Now along comes a group of lawyer lobbyists looking for $25,000 from the county so poor decisions can continue. There may be some merit to the Conowingo Dam sediment problem, but it would be wonderful if the commissioners would concentrate on the things they can control, including wise land-use decisions, and put that money to better use. They should work with the state to improve water quality, not against it.

With 560 miles of waterfront, St. Mary’s County has more to gain from a clean and thriving watershed than it will cost us. Much hand-wringing occurs over defense cuts but our miles of waterfront are an asset we can capitalize on now and in the future.

It would be a real shame if the commissioners decide to hand over taxpayer funds to lobbyists for bureaucratic infighting that works against the best interests of St. Mary’s County.

Robert Willey, California