Energy & Environment

Slow Grown in Virginia Promotes Small Farm Freedoms

Brian and Kim Criley operate their farm business, Slow Grown in Virginia, with the help of five of their six children on the more than 50-acre Spring Hill Farm in Caroline County, Va. They do not use any herbicides, pesticides, hormones, chemical growth enhancers or genetically modified organisms to grow crops or raise livestock.

Although the Crileys are passionate about providing natural farm products, they face many challenges as small family farmers. Brian and Kim say Slow Grown in Virginia faces government overregulation and competition from big agricultural organizations that lobby against the freedoms of small farmers. Continue reading

EPA’s Water Proposal May Threaten Farmers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a proposal to clarify the Clean Water Act, which some fear could have detrimental effects on farmers and landowners with any body of water on or near their property.

The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, and has since erupted several Supreme Court rulings that have only made the law’s interpretation more complex. The court cases include U.S. v. Riverside Bayview (1985), SWANCC v. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Rapanos v. United States (2006). The EPA says the new proposal will help cut down on pollution and improve water quality. Continue reading

Fixing Our Dictatorial EPA

First Published in Town Hall and reprinted with permission from author

EPA, White House and activists must no longer deceive America and rule by executive fiat

Paul Driessen

Last year, Congress enacted 72 new laws and federal agencies promulgated 3,659 new rules, imposing $1.86 trillion in annual regulatory compliance costs on American businesses and families. It’s hardly surprising that America’s economy shrank by 1% the first quarter of 2014, our labor participation rate is a miserable 63% and real unemployment stands at 12-23% (and even worse for blacks and Hispanics).

It’s no wonder a recent Gallup poll found that 56% of respondents said the economy, unemployment and dissatisfaction with government are the most serious problems facing our nation – whereas only 3% said it is environmental issues, with climate change only a small segment of that. Continue reading

York County’s Own ‘Forbidden Oysters’

Note: The Virginia Free Citizen has been actively covering York County’s agriculture rezoning plans as well as oyster farmer Greg Garrett’s own battles with the county. For more information, including responses from York County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Wiggins and County Attorney James Barnett, please check the following articles: Oyster Farmer Faces Continued Battle Against York County and Agricultural Rights of York County Citizens Threatened by Board of Supervisors Rezoning Plans

The Virginia Free Citizen media team visited Greg Garrett’s oyster farm on his private property to learn more about his battle against York County to protect his oyster operations.

Greg Garrett decided to start oyster farming about five and a half years ago because he wanted to do his part to help clean the Chesapeake Bay. One oyster is said to clean, or filter, up to 50 gallons of water a day. But little did Garrett know, for three years, he would be tangled up in lawsuits with his county government.

Garrett says he is a direct decedent of one of the founders of Yorktown, who was sent by the King of England to the New World. On his website, Garrett claims that his family has been growing oysters in the York River since 1620. Garrett dedicates nine underwater acres leased by the state to his oyster operations and he ships his oysters to retailers all over the country.

Continue reading

Gov. McAuliffe Announced $500,000 Grant for Oyster Sanctuary

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has announced a $500,000 grant to the Nature Conservancy to build a large-scale oyster sanctuary in the Piankatank River near Fishing Bay in Middlesex County, which is located in the Northern Neck region of Virginia.

The project, which totals $3.8 million, is funded by both private donations and public revenue. There are four environmental organizations collaborating on the project: The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The project serves to boost the oyster population in the river. Virginia’s oyster population has declined severely in recent years. Studies have shown that the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay region is one percent of what it was a century ago. Continue reading