In a recent response to a letter about the proposed budget increase of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2024 I sent to N.C. 11th District Congressman Chuck Edwards, I read the following and shocking news as stated below:
“As a member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, I introduced an amendment that was included in the NDAA that will help reduce waste and misuse of U.S.-provided equipment — an area where the DOD spends billions of dollars annually. Another bipartisan amendment of mine was included in the NDAA that requires the DOD to complete a survey of the 15 counties in Western North Carolina as potential locations for future defense assets and report to Congress on its findings. Our topography is much like that of many U.S. adversaries. Thus, I believe our military should be able to train in similar environments.”
I ask, how will this save money? Seems like this is another slice of pork our congressman wants to bring back to his district.
And what does he mean when he states the Department of Defense will be required to complete a survey of our Western North Carolina region as “potential locations for future defense assets and report to Congress on its findings?”
Then he brings up our “many U.S. adversaries.” Could they be Russia and China? Do they have “similar environments”?
This is all worrisome for me. Our mountains are sacred to all of us going as far back as the Cherokee Nation, where members hid out to avoid marching to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears nearly 200 years ago. Would this land be cursed as another training ground that will teach our military how to kill soldiers and civilians in other countries whom we insist on making our enemies?
Will they become contaminated with lead? Would our natural springs and majestic rivers have to suffer from more pollution? Will our trees be clear-cut again as their first-growth ancestors were during this region’s development by white settlers and rich capitalists?
We don’t need a survey, Rep. Edwards. We don’t want the military abusing our beautiful land that will soon become home to more climate refugees. The survey is a waste.
This amendment and the NDAA were approved by our Congress. It now goes to the Senate. Cut the proposed 2024 military budget. No suitability survey in our mountains. One hundred acres of dense forestland was donated to Pratt & Whitney to build parts for military fighter jets just three years ago. We who love peace will resist any additional giveaways to a bloated military.
— Rachael Bliss
Editor’s note: A press release from Edwards’ office about the defense bill can be found at avl.mx/cv6.