NO OLF rallies to put Navy out to pasture

Published 2:09 am Friday, January 12, 2007

By Staff
Still seeking support from N.C. Farm Bureau Federation
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
PLYMOUTH — Dressed in jeans, sweatsuits, camouflage clothing and heavy coats, opponents of the proposed outlying landing field gathered in a barn Thursday night to remind one another of their shared mission — to thwart the Navy’s plans to build an OLF in some of their backyards.
Some of those who attended the meeting are neighbors and friends of the Beasleys, who offered their metal building on the border of Washington and Beaufort counties as a gathering place. Others were new to the area — like the couple who just moved to Belhaven but are already eager to join the local effort to stop the OLF from being built here. Some were out-of-towners with stakes of their own in the effort. They include the handful of folks from Perquimans County, another potential OLF site. One man came from as far away as Richmond, Va.
NO OLF has been trying for some time to garner support from North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes farm and rural issues. Morris said Thursday that a resolution of support from the organization has made it through some hoops in Raleigh, but it has to be approved by another board.
In part, the resolution says the organization will “defend eastern North Carolina farmers … by direct lobbying assistance … and any other action that is appropriate and effective.”
Morris told those who attended the meeting they must stay on their toes in the coming days as they await the Navy’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The court-ordered document is expected to detail the effects of locating an OLF in the region. It will be released “some time this winter,” according to Navy spokesman Ted Brown
An OLF at Site C — the Navy’s top choice on the border of Washington and Beaufort counties — would be used to train pilots. That site — about 30,000 acres — is halfway between military operations in Virginia Beach, Va., and Cherry Point.
The group’s next goal is to garner support from Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.