Some 300 people attended last night’s hearing in Charlotte — the final and western-most round of seven public-comment sessions in the state—and continued the outpouring of opposition to the Navy’s plan to build an outlying landing field (OLF) next to Pocasin National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern North Carolina, according to today’s Charlotte Observer (see “Landing Field Hearing Draws Dissention”).
Navy spokesperson Ted Brown acknowledged that most of the 1,500 public comments the Navy has received have opposed the plan. Governmental opposition includes Gov. Mike Easley, Sen. Richard Burr, eight N.C. members of Congress, the state wildlife commission and agriculture commissioner, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Critics predict collisions between the Navy’s aircraft and the large waterfowl that use the refuge area. The Navy argues that it can “manage” the waterfowl through food-source reduction, noise harassment, dogs and chemicals, according to the Observer‘s report. A decision on the plan is expected this fall.
— Nelda Holder, news and opinion editor