Better late than never

Published 6:49 pm Thursday, April 5, 2007

By Staff
Recent additions to the bandwagon opposing Site C as the future home of an outlying landing field in eastern North Carolina bring an old saying to mind — better late than never.
Opposition to the Navy’s proposal to build an outlying landing field on the Washington County-Beaufort County line — known as Site C — has been around since the Navy’s proposal became public. Lawsuits challenging the Navy’s plans have been filed. Meetings and public hearings about those plans have been held and continue to be held.
Those who oppose the Site C location for an OLF have spent a lot of time, money and energy to persuade their elected representatives to fight the Navy’s proposal. Within the last several weeks, more and more elected officials are jumping into the OLF fray. And what these officials are saying and asking makes sense.
U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, called on Navy Secretary Donald Winter to reject Site C as an outlying landing field to be used to train military pilots.
Now, that’s an intelligent, well-thought-out reason to oppose Site C.
On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Easley, unhappy with the state’s two U.S. senators — Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr — unwillingness to stake out more definitive positions on the OLF, decided to ask senators from other states for helping blocking the project. The governor said he’s already received support from the state’s U.S. House delegation to hold back funding for Site C.
Easley is perturbed with the Navy for what he terms its failure to listen to an increasing number of voices opposed to Site C.
That’s a good reason for Easley and those voices to be perturbed.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican, said the Navy hasn’t done a “thorough job” in investigating options for an outlying landing field in North Carolina. He’s called on Winter to reconsider the Site C proposal.
The congressman believes building a $230 million OLF at a site with “severe operational restrictions” is not a prudent way to spend taxpayers’ money.
Jones sides with Dale Hall, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in thinking that Site E in Craven County is a better choice for an OLF.
Can’t argue with that reasoning, either.
And if more state-level or national-level politicians want to jump on the anti-Site C bandwagon, there’s plenty of room.
A word of advice to Sens. Dole and Burr: Better late than never.