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Exercise your freedom at state hearing

Has the raw sewage dumping into your local creek left you seething? Are you concerned about acid mine drainage, toxic waste, mountaintop removal mining?

The state Department of Environmental Protection is listening.

Department Director Mike Castle and other officials will be at the Harrison County Courthouse commission chambers at 7 p.m. tonight to hear citizens' comments and questions about regional environmental issues. Residents of Braxton, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties are invited to attend this meeting, one of a series around the state.

Harrison County Commissioner Beth Taylor, who will chair the local event, said it is an opportunity for citizens to air their concerns without wallowing in red tape.

We agree.

Given the proliferation of Charleston governmental offices, it is often difficult for even seasoned journalists to locate the right person to whom to address specific questions. For the average citizen, it can be an exercise in marathon phone dialing.

Bringing officials to the public is a great way for individual citizens to have input. It is also a tribute to our nation's democratic ideals.

We encourage any citizen who has a question or concern about a state environmental issue to attend and exercise his or her freedom of speech.

Such freedom is and always will be a tenuous thing. Let's use what we don't want to lose.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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