Many of my Facebook friends (and some Growler Garage cohorts) support eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I disagree and let me share some anecdotes to explain why. Before Republican President Richard Nixon established the EPA in 1970, here’s what was going on in my hometown of Bainbridge, Georgia, which straddles the Flint River. In those days, Bainbridge dumped raw sewage into the Flint, we called it the Honey Hole. We were dumb country boys; we didn’t know any better. Whatever gets flushed in the Flint eventually ends up in Apalachicola Bay, home of the world’s best oysters and a vibrant part of the Big Bend economy.

Some people bring up compliance costs, but they ignore the price society bears with pollution. Profits gets privatized, but environmental degradation is socialized, and that is crony capitalism. Regulations impose costs on business, but that is not always a deal-breaker. Back to the pre-EPA days, across the river from the Honey Hole stood the Elberta Crate and Box Company with its billowing smokestack. Any wood unworthy for a crate ended up in a furnace and was burned to generate boiler heat. Putting scrubbers on the chimney cost the company money, but over the last 40 years, the “crate factory” has expanded and while I have not seen their tax returns the company probably makes more money post-EPA.

Finally, I suspect many people against the EPA also got a BP check. The oil spill reimbursements came from penalties specified by the Clean Water Act. However, the fines were part of an EPA investigation. In 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Reuters, “There are certainly going to be opportunities for fines and penalties." Sooner or later there will be another oil spill. It could be a pipeline or a tanker next time instead of an oil well, and economic havoc could be unavoidable.

Changing gears to the proposed pier, without a doubt, they are good for fishing and surfing, but Walton County cannot afford to spring for one nor can underfunded state parks. In financial planning, you rank spending goals because some are more important than others. South Walton has more critical areas to address than a pier. My granddaughter loves to fish; a fishing pier would be perfect for our four 4 old. It’s not about me and mine. A pier would be fiscally irresponsible, economically unsustainable and an aesthetic disaster.

From a marketing point of view, South Walton is not Panama City; perhaps we lose an integral marketing piece if we try to be everything to everybody. Take my marketing hints with a grain of salt. After all, this is a pro-EPA piece in an anti-EPA town. It’s like being a Bulldog in Gainesville.

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.