The US Navy's plans to dump never-ending noise in the northeast part of our state hit a speed bump last week when the General Assembly wisely passed legislation severely limiting the Navy's ability to commandeer North Carolina land for an outlying landing field. The best coverage of this issue is always out of Virginia.
Asserting its rights under the U.S. Constitution, the North Carolina General Assembly has passed legislation that could complicate any effort by the Navy to build a practice airfield in Camden or Gates counties.
Expected to be signed by the governor next week, the bill says North Carolina does not consent to the Navy taking property for an outlying landing field in a county that does not already have a military base where aircraft squadrons are stationed. It was passed unanimously by the state Senate on Wednesday and by the state House last week.
The bill amends an old state law that for decades has given the federal government blanket permission to take land and build facilities such as military bases and post offices, said Camden County attorney John Morrison. Most states, including Virginia, have similar laws because federal facilities typically are beneficial, he said.
The state amendment invokes Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which says the federal government may not take land without the consent of the state legislature, Morrison said. It says North Carolina does not consent to an OLF in Gates or Camden counties, he said.
This is a very smart and long-overdue action by the legislature. But as the article suggests, the Navy is unlikely to take no for an answer.