Hernando letters to the editor for July 7

Published Jul. 5, 2017

River advocates seek solutions for waterway June 30, story

It's time to stand up for our rivers

I am an old-timer. I have lived in Florida most of my life, age 8 until now, 60 years or so, with brief forays into the Northeast. I have watched with dismay the degradation of our springs, woodlands and the obstruction of our coastal views. In the 1960s, Weeki Wachee was a clear, fast-running river replete with eelgrass and needle fish. It was mesmerizing to stand next to its banks and watch the water flow, crystal clear and cold in the summer. I lived on it briefly in the late '70s, when I would walk out on a cold winter morning and watch the mist rise and the manatees swim in the warm waters.

Things change, no doubt. But if we want to preserve this river for the future, and I presume that this is the case, we need to manage this asset with care. I believe we need to consider designating it as a wild river above a certain point. That means no power boats, limits on the number of kayaks and tubers per day and more marine patrols to keep the litter and drinking off the river. I know this is not a popular stance with those who seem to feel we can use the river with no concern for its upkeep. But the bill for this attitude has come due. There are so many people on the river now that I will no longer use it. This is not the only river I no longer use. The Chassahowitzka has become a destination river for many, and they are destroying it, as well.

There are others like me with like attitudes. We need to help those who are not educated to the need to manage these areas, who simply don't get it. It is important that with this management we also educate and volunteer to help. If not, we will see this river go the way of White Springs and Suwannee Springs in North Florida, dried up or no longer flowing enough to be called a spring.

Cynthia Ryalls Clephane, Brooksville

County libraries benefit all ages

I hope you reconsider closing any of our libraries. They are a vital necessity for all age groups in Hernando County, starting with our babies who start loving books as soon as they can turn the pages. Toddlers love coming to Storytime.

School-agers love working on computers for their homework and having access to being educated through the world of books. Libraries give access to cooking, painting and books for discussion groups. Older people enjoy getting out of their homes and enjoying a movie and popcorn with new friends. Where else can they afford to be taught to be skillful with all the new computer technologies?

Please keep all the libraries accessible to Hernando residents.

Loretta Hager, Spring Hill

High cost of spring cleaning; Stop fracking, save Big Cypress | June 9, story and June 23, letter

Fracking doesn't contaminate wells

Dan DeWitt recently published an excellent piece about the good work done by lawmakers, including Sen. Wilton Simpson and others, during the 2017 legislative session to clean up Weeki Wachee Spring, and I commend him for making the public aware of its dire state — which was scientifically proven to be contaminated by lawn fertilizer and septic tanks.

Notice, however, that DeWitt's column makes no mention of hydraulic fracturing, commonly coined as fracking, because it has nothing to do with Weeki Wachee and the important cleanup that is now taking place. I was confused to read Brooke Errett's letter to the editor in response to the article. Ms. Errett ties the safe process of hydraulic fracturing to Florida's polluted springs and waters, calling for a preemptive ban despite not having any scientific evidence to support her claim specifically about hydraulic fracturing.

There is no recent scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing poses a threat to our waterways. For nearly 70 years, hydraulic fracturing has helped bolster our country's energy supply. The practice has been tested and refined for decades. Not to mention, fracking falls under at least eight different federal regulations as well as multiple state and local laws.

Ms. Errett seems to have inaccurate information about fracking's effect on our drinking water. I want to be clear: There have been no confirmed cases of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing in the 2 million wells fracked since the 1940s.

When you forgo emotion for scientific facts, it is clear hydraulic fracturing would only benefit Florida and the rest of the country. Fracking provides a safe way to become more energy independent and reduce our reliance on war-torn countries for energy, and a preemptive ban without any scientific evidence serves no beneficial purpose to our great nation.

Lt. Col. Dennis Freytes, U.S. Army (Retired) and co-chair of Florida Vets4Energy