::Senators Say They Oppose Navy OLF
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Friday, April 20, 2007
WASHINGTON DC - North Carolina's Republican Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr have joined with Democratic Governor Mike Easley in opposing the Navy's choice of location for an outlying landing field (OLF) next to a wildlife refuge in eastern North Carolina.
In a printed statement released yesterday as well as in a radio address, US Senator Elizabeth Dole said she sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy opposing the Navy's proposal to build an outlying landing field in Washington County.
"I appreciate the extensive discussions that we and our staffs have had over the last several weeks regarding the Navy's proposal for an outlying landing field in North Carolina," Dole wrote to Navy Secretary Donald Winter. "As I have conveyed to you, the Navy's proposal to build an OLF in Washington County is simply not feasible."
"In the best interests of both North Carolinians and the service, the Navy must withdraw its recommendation for an OLF in Washington County...I will oppose funding for an OLF in Washington County, as well as other potential sites that fail to meet these standards," said Dole.
Dole added that there were other potential locations where "environmental and other problems are very limited, and where residents are more receptive to such a facility and its potential for long-term economic development" and that the Navy should consider those sites instead.
Senator Burr Opposes Site
In a letter on April 9th to the US Secretary of the Navy, US Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina also expressed his opposition to the current choice of the landing site for the Navy OLF.
Burr said that he was disappointed that a solution has not been reached yet.
"It has become apparent to me that a solution is as far away as it has ever been," said Burr in his letter.
"It is clear to me there is insurmountable and growing opposition to the Washington County site, which compels me to reject Site C as the Navy's preferred location for the OLF," he added.
Burr said that the loss of feeding grounds for birds in the wildlife refuge next to the proposed landing site could be substantial.
He also said that there has not been a sufficient investigation into the economic impact on Washington County by removing thousands of acres of farmland from food production, especially since a new ethanol plant in the area would require a great deal of local corn crops to produce fuel.
In addition to environmental and economic problems at the site, Burr cited the Air Force's characterization of the bird strike hazards at the proposed site as "severe", which Burr said could pose a danger to Navy pilots. ::