Congresswoman Eliane Luria spend the majority of Friday on the Eastern Shore.
Luria began her day with a visit to the Eastern Shore Community College campus. She toured activity at Workforce Development Services with Interim President Dr. Billy Greer and Workforce Dean T.J. Johnson. Among the activities she observed included the Community College’s CDL classes, which is a collaborative effort with Accomack County Public Schools, employee training taking place on campus with Branscome as well as a mental health seminar conducted by the Community Services Board.
Following her tour of ESCC, Luria sat down with the Eastern Shore Area Agency on Aging to discuss Federal programs and their application on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Her final stop on the Shore was in Northampton County at the County Complex. A small group of approximately 15 people were there to discuss federal issues with the Congresswoman.
Luria stated she was here to listen, not talk, and opened the floor up to those assembled. A large range of topics were covered including the government shutdown, infrastructure, rural broadband, schools, Medicare expansion and more.
A strong proponent of addressing climate change and sea-level rise, Luria said one of her first actions was to introduce a bill to officially reauthorize Chesapeake Bay cleanup dollars:
Local issues raised included current plans for the Assateague Beach, a potential Eastern Shore sewage system, how the Census will affect the Shore, effects of tariffs and low grain prices of the Shore’s farmers and the opioid crisis.
Luria said she met with the Coast Guard at the beginning of February and discussed concerns that are being raised about the Cape Charles anchorage.
Northampton Board Chairman Spencer Murray called into question the discrepancy between rural areas like the Shore and the designated Intensely Developed Areas, which seem to play by a different set of EPA rules. If other areas can develop at will in areas that are illegal on the Shore, he suggested the federal and state governments provide financial incentives to rural areas for maintaining their identity.
Another recent development that is a result of federal regulations is the Eastern Shore’s productive farm land being purchased by large corporations for pollution mitigation. Our land, which is much cheaper than other areas, is a target rich environment for companies in different states that need to find places to install forestry easements. These easements, which are ways for companies to gain carbon credits, are permanent and cannot be returned to farm land.
Luria said that while sometimes things sound good, they don’t always work. She promised to look into the subject and see what changes could be made.