U.S. Senate to mull OLF money
Vote this week could freeze funds for Site C
By NIKIE MAYO
The full U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a piece of legislation this week that would bar funding for a proposed outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties.
Butterfield and fellow Congressman David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, have each had a hand in OLF-barring maneuvers that passed in the U.S. House. There are two kinds of legislation, one dealing with defense authorization and the other dealing with appropriation. Each of those has sections aimed at stopping Site C.
A Department of Defense budget request from February — tagged “NOLF Washington County” — seeks $10.6 million that would be used for landing field facilities and land acquisition. The appropriation request is part of the Department of Defense’s proposed budget for the coming federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
But the Senate vote could dismiss that request. It could also allocate $5 million that would be used to help the Navy find an alternate location to train military pilots.
Virginia leaders are scheduled to meet with Navy officials on Capitol Hill today to offer suggestions for alternative OLF sites that would be in the commonwealth.
Any new OLF would need to be appropriately located between Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock and Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., according to Navy spokesmen. Site C is about halfway between those two bases, but its nearness to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has drawn criticism from environmentalists and North Carolina politicians alike.