Dole: Navy Site C ‘not feasible’
Published 9:15 pm Friday, April 20, 2007
State’s senior senator opposes OLF choice
By NIKIE MAYO
North Carolina’s senior senator said Thursday the Navy’s plan to build an outlying landing field in rural Washington and Beaufort counties is ‘not feasible’ and called on the Navy to change course.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole said the Navy should reassess other potential sites included in its latest OLF environmental study — along with other in-state options — in a letter to Navy Secretary Donald Winter.
Dole, a Republican member of the Senate’s Armed Services committee, said she will oppose funding for an OLF in Washington County. She said she’d do the same for any other location that fails to meet the standards she believes it should. Dole, in a telephone interview with the Daily News, said she is not yet prepared to endorse any other potential site.
She said she will work with state officials, including Gov. Mike Easley, as well as Navy leaders, to find a “workable” alternative site.
Jennifer Alligood, chairwoman of North Carolinians Opposed to an Outlying Landing Field, said gaining Dole’s support equates to “winning a battle in a very long war.”
The Navy intends to covert just over 30,000 eastern North Carolina acres into a landing field for military pilots from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock. Site C is halfway between those locations.
The Navy released a statement Thursday indicating that Winter appreciates Dole’s “willingness to take a leadership role to facilitate a dialogue … to help identify a location for an outlying field that would be acceptable to the residents of the North Carolina and meet the operational needs of the Navy.”
Navy spokesman Ted Brown said Site C remains the Navy’s top choice, but that the Navy “welcomes new sites” that would meet its needs.