RICHLANDS, Va. (WVNS)–Tazewell County welcomed a special guest to the area on Monday, July 25.

Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears and State Senator Travis Hackworth toured flood-impacted areas around Bandy, Richlands, and Buchanan County. After touring in Bandy, Lieutenant Governor Sears and Senator Hackworth attended a luncheon at the Richlands Police Department with EMS, Police, and Fire.

Sears said since the mussels in the river are protected, it makes it harder to clean and prevent flooding from the river.

“DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) and EPA regualtions make it difficult to clean up the river from as is needed from time to time. The people have to get applications and they have to pay a fee, and that shouldn’t be. So it seems we’ve put the mussels ahead of the lives of the people and we’re reaping some of the consequences,” Sears said.

Senator Hackworth added he would like to create legislation to create a disaster relief fund for rural areas and rapid response to combat the flooding.