Wildlife agency’s stance not about emotion

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By Staff
When discussing the Navy’s preference to put an outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties, Rear Adm. David Anderson said something that didn’t go over well with folks who live near Site C.
The people whose land, homes and families will be affected by the Navy’s decision say it’s difficult — if not impossible — to take emotion off the table.
So maybe the Navy can discount the Jennifer Alligoods of the region. Maybe Navy leaders can turn a collective blind eye to the families who would be impacted by the Navy’s choices. Navy leaders have to think about the greater good and national defense, after all.
But when the leader of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stands and objects to Navy-preferred Site C, it’s not about emotion. It’s about a guy doing his job. And the Navy ought to pay attention.
The Fish and Wildlife Service was brought into the OLF impact-study process long ago. Biologists have offered insight on everything from tundra swans to red wolves. They had an opportunity to “provide the science,” Hall said.
And they came to this conclusion:
That’s what Hall said, on behalf of the agency he leads.
Hall didn’t say the Fish and Wildlife Service had the opportunity to provide the emotion in the study. He didn’t say that the agency emotionally disagreed with the Navy’s choice.
The people who been entrusted with looking after wildlife and waterfowl all over the country say that — based on science — Site C is a bad idea.
It seems pretty reasonable that even one pilot should not have to share airspace with thousands of migratory waterfowl. There’s danger in that — such danger that studying the matter at all seems absurd.
But the Navy did study it. And the Fish and Wildlife Service was brought in as a cooperating agency to offer its expertise.
Devoid of emotion, FWS science termed Site C unacceptable. To ignore that conclusion would be beyond arrogant. It would be reckless.