Local Politics

Congressmen ask Navy to abandon OLF project

Posted January 28, 2011

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— A day after the Navy announced it would table for at least three years plans to build a landing field in eastern North Carolina for fighter jets, two congressmen asked that the project be terminated.

First District Congressman G.K. Butterfield and 3rd District Congressman Walter Jones sent a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, citing local opposition, fiscal concerns the lack of necessity for an outlying landing field as reasons to end the project altogether.

"The people of Gates and Camden counties have made it clear that and outlying landing field is not a good match for their communities,” Butterfield said in a statement. “It’s time the Navy end the waiting game and shut this project down.”

A 2005 land-use study showed the Navy encountering increasingly crowded conditions for flight operations in and around Virginia Beach, Va., and recommended that the Navy “pursue development of an additional outlying landing field in North Carolina” to alleviate the impact of growth in southeastern Virginia.

Local and state officials, environmental groups and residents in Camden, Currituck, Hertford and Gates counties lobbied against the project, saying the landing field would be noisy and disruptive.

Gov. Beverly Perdue issued a statement Friday expressing relief that the project was put on hold until at least 2014.

"We are pleased that North Carolina’s position was heard and the Navy is considering other locations for the outlying landing field," Perdue said. "We will continue to aggressively pursue the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters squadrons for Cherry Point and look forward to housing as many as possible."

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  • lilymae Jan 28, 2011

    As someone who owns some of the land OLF wanted to build on, let me say a few words. First, as far as a larger population base in the county. Ha! The landing strip would employ only a very, very few people basically to maintain the massive concrete slab. Second, environmentalism has nothing to do with it. My family farms our land. It's our livelihood and has been for 200 years. Third, you cannot understand the inhabitants of those small, rural counties, many who have families who lived there for generations. Our property is who we are, and we don't want the government coming in and taking our land.
    I'd love to know how many of you who are saying that we should let the military take what they need are opposed to big government. "We" cannot find a way to accommodate our military, GoGreen unless by "we" you are a citizen of one of those counties

  • beachboater Jan 28, 2011

    "Perdue said. "We will continue to aggressively pursue the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters squadrons for Cherry Point and look forward to housing as many as possible.""

    Yep, we'll aggressively pursue what WE want, but don't ask us to don anything you want.

    I would imagine that the Navy pays pretty good for some not so good land. Much more than the land would produce otherwise. As someone above stated, it should be an economic boon to the area. I just don't understand North Carolina's stance on this.

  • jollyrogered Jan 28, 2011

    Man, that would create a much larger population base in that area, and thereby more economic opportunity. I am surprised the Gov is that opposed. I can understand the concerns of the residents though. I grew up next to Offutt AF base, and it was noisy all hours of the day from landings and touch/go's

  • GoGreen Jan 28, 2011

    I don't know why we cannot find a way to accommodate our military. I'm a huge environmentalist but gosh darn, I believe them when they say they need something.

  • methinks Jan 28, 2011

    Good Job!! Now that NC has the reputation of being anti-military what's to stop the DOD to choose all four of our military bases when they look to close more bases in the future. Goodbye Goldsboro, Havelock, Jacksonville, and Fayetteville.