Dole seeks OLF answers

Published 6:54 pm Friday, April 6, 2007

By Staff
Wants Navy to address questions by next month
News Editor
The day after outlying landing field opponents here modified their NO OLF signs with red markers to make them read ‘“NO DOLE,” North Carolina’s senior senator raised the questions they’ve been hoping she would.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., told Navy Secretary Donald Winter on Thursday that she’s “deeply concerned about the Navy’s proposed outlying landing field in northeast North Carolina.” That concern is accompanied by a list of 11 questions about the project that she wants answered before the May 9 deadline to end public comments on it.
The letter and questions both come on the heels of the Navy’s last local hearing on the latest OLF environmental study. That hearing was held Wednesday night in Plymouth and attracted hundreds of OLF opponents who may have the most at stake. Many of them questioned why Dole had not taken a stand on their behalf.
The hearing was held not far from Site C, the Navy’s preferred spot for a place to train military pilots. That site includes land from Washington and Beaufort counties.
In her letter to Winter, Dole asked many of the questions that were asked during that hearing.
She asks for the Navy to give its “best example” of an OLF in proximity to a major waterfowl population. A comparison between Whidbey Island OLF in Washington state and Site C here is a comparison that is “unconvincing and misplaced” she wrote.
Dole asks for a “detailed description of all possible methods” that might be used to keep birds away from an OLF. Those same birds migrate by the thousands to nearby Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge each winter.
Dole also wants the Navy to explain why proposed sites in Carteret and Craven counties could not work.
“I will carefully evaluate how the Navy responds to these serious and legitimate concerns as I make my conclusions about this long-standing issue,” Dole said in a Thursday release from her office.
Plymouth Mayor Brian Roth said the development was “big-time.”