Easley courts conservation group in fighting OLF

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2007

By Staff
Asks Ducks Unlimited members to rally Congress
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Gov. Mike Easley sent a letter Tuesday enlisting members of Ducks Unlimited to fight the Navy’s proposed outlying landing field here.
In a letter addressed to “fellow hunters,” Easley asked members of the group to contact their congressional leaders and ask them to withhold funding from the project at Navy-termed Site C. In the letter, Easley said the Navy’s plans “may well eliminate … waterfowl” near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
Ducks Unlimited is a nonprofit organization that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. The group has already taken a stand against the Navy’s proposed practice pad for military pilots on the border of Washington and Beaufort counties.
But Easley’s move — asking DU members to lobby their legislators — is the latest in his “hold the purse strings” campaign.
Easley sent a letter to North Carolina’s congressional leaders last month asking them to withhold funding from the project after the Navy’s draft supplemental study again identified Site C as the Navy’s preferred training spot.
Asked if the DU letter was born out of frustration with those senators, Hoffman did not answer directly.
A Ducks Unlimited spokeswoman said it is unusual that the organization would take such a strong stance on the OLF’s placement.
Plymouth Mayor Brian Roth said Easley’s letter is a “welcomed development.”