North Carolina’s senators are at odds regarding the current push for settlement of the lengthy road-to-nowhere debate in Swain County. In voicing her support for a cash settlement, Sen. Elizabeth Dole said this week: “It is abundantly clear from the Park Service’s assessment that the environmental and economic costs to build the North Shore Road are just too great.” (Full statement available here in .pdf form.) Dole plans to introduce Senate legislation to provide a framework for the cash settlement with Swain County, and signed onto a settlement letter of support to the Secretary of the Interior from the governors of North Carolina and Tennessee, both Tennessee senators, and a number of representatives from the two states—including WNC’s Rep. Heath Shuler (see post below, “Shuler: No Road, Thank You—We’ll Take Cash”).
But Sen. Richard Burr remains at odds with his state colleagues, and issued a statement saying: “I have always supported an agreement dating back to 1943 … which would build a road along Fontana Reservoir’s north shore.” (Full statement available here in .pdf form.) Burr wants to continue the Environmental Impact Study that has been underway with findings due later this year.
— Nelda Holder, news and opinion editor