Fournier worthy of appreciation

Whether or not you agree with Suzanne Fournier, whether or not you even like Suzanne Fournier, you must give the Milford resident credit for persistence and the courage of her convictions.

Fournier, it can be said without being even slightly discourteous, is a thorn in the side of Milford officials but not for the sake of being a thorn. Fournier is an environmental activist who wants to hold Milford to the highest possible standard and to that end, she sticks out her neck whenever she believes it necessary to point out what she believes are the errors of official ways.

She does not see anything necessarily nefarious about the workings of Milford Town Hall, it seems to us, but seems convinced that too many public officials, and not only in Milford or New Hampshire, just don’t understand how their decisions can aversely affect the environment.

In general, she is right. Witness the continued denial in this country of the potential impact of climate change, a denial led by the denizens of Fox News and grabbed at like a life preserver by a population drowning in the desire to not deal with anything it can’t quickly understand, like supermarket prices.

Fournier’s latest concern is about the breaching of a dam at Heron Pond in Milford because she is convinced that removing part of the dam will harm many species of animals. She asked the Milford selectmen why no one had discussed the plan with the town’s Conversation Commission or with Heron Pond school officials. While selectmen did not respond to her comments, nor of a few other people who questioned them on the dam breach, (and we wonder why they didn’t), Fred Elkind, the town’s environmental program coordinator, says no real harm was done to the dam or to the pond.

We hope that is so. We certainly have no reason to doubt Elkind and he gave a solid reason for breaching the dam: concerns about the level of the water and the potential for damage to public and private property. That seems reasonable to us.

But that said, we are grateful, and hope you are, too, for people like Fournier who are not afraid to take their concerns public in a public forum, including The Cabinet’s letters to the editor column. It’s possible she isn’t terribly popular with some officials, although they treat her with respect, as they do anyone who comes before them.

But it takes courage to be the point person for an issue, especially when, for the most part, you are out there alone.

We hope in the future she has more support. We don’t always understand the science behind her concerns but we take them seriously and hope others do. Even if she’s wrong about, say, the dam breaching, it is still much better to have the issue discussed than to just assume all is well.

As long as Fournier is around, there’s no chance of such assumptions, we are glad to say.