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We frequently fly a flag in the front of the house.   On most occasions, it’s the American flag.  Ours was given to us by a soldier on the occasion of his safe return from Afghanistan.  We hang it with great honor.

But we occasionally fly another flag.  It’s a distress flag.  A Maritime distress flag, to be specific, but we stretch those boundaries just a little bit.

We use that maritime flag to symbolize the distress that we, and I in particular, feel from our country’s relaxation on many environmental restrictions.

I think I feel the pain most acutely because I’m a born-and-bred West Virginian.

West Virginia’s known for its beautiful mountains.  That’s why it’s called the Mountain State.

The mountains and their valleys have always been rich in coal and natural gas.  Both have contributed abundantly to our energy use through the years.

But the time has come to phase out our reliance on them.  The gas wells have run dry; the hills have given up most of their coal.

The only way to continue coal and gas production is to rape and plunder Mother Nature.  It’s called “strip mining” and “fracking.”  And with those atrocities go our  mountains, the valleys, the streams and their beauty.  I feel that pain intensely.  West Virginia roots run deep and strong.

And that’s one reason why we hang a distress flag from our front porch.