Navy is ‘finalizing’ latest OLF impact statement
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
After one false start, the Navy says it isn’t yet ready to release the court-ordered supplemental statement detailing the impacts of an outlying landing field in the region.
The report was first scheduled to be ready by last fall, then by December, according to Navy spokesmen. But at the moment, it’s still subject to fine-tuning.
Doris Morris, the spokeswoman for North Carolinians Opposed to the Outlying Landing Field, said Saturday the group had received word last month that the SEIS was about to be released. She said the group got a tip from Perquimans County and was gearing up for public hearings that never happened.
The SEIS will be reviewed by representatives of U.S. Fleet Forces Command before it is released, according to Brown. After that, Brown said, “everything will follow the NEPA” or National Environmental Policy Act process —meaning there will be public hearings in all affected counties.
Eastern District Judge Terrence Boyle found flaws in the Navy’s first study that outlined the potential impacts of an OLF in the region and ordered a supplemental one. In doing an SEIS, the Navy looked not only at “Site C” — its preferred option on the border of Washington and Beaufort counties — but also at four other sites, including one near the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde County.
During NO OLF’s May rally in Raleigh, Rep. Tim Spear, D-Washington, said Navy leaders were only “acting like” they were doing a detailed SEIS.
In preparation for the release of the SEIS, NO OLF has called a “community meeting” at the barn of Myra and Jerry Beasley on N.C. Highway 32, at the Beaufort-Washington counties line. The meeting will be held Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Navy’s proposed OLF at Site C would cover approximately 30,000 acres, and its 8,000-foot runway could serve as a practice strip for pilots from Virginia Beach’s Oceana Naval Air Station and those from Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station.
Morris described Thursday’s planned meeting as a means to “get everybody enthused and energetic” and give them an update regarding NO OLF’s recent activities.