All hands on deck

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I had a good conversation today with a DC staffer about how and when Congressional action might be taken regarding the Navy's proposed outlying landing field on Site C. Here's the scoop.

1. There will be no formal action until the defense appropriations bill comes up for consideration in April and May. I specifically asked if a prohibition against using current funds for Site C could be included as an amendment on some other bill, and the answer was "probably not."

2. The Navy will be issuing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in late February, with public hearings soon thereafter. Everyone expects they are again reverse engineering the process in favor of Site C, which means they're still a bunch of liars.

3. New requirements placed on the Navy by the courts and by Congress include: a) working with state officials to identify and evaluate other sites, and b) working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate the suitability of any proposal.

This is where participation by Governor Easley, Lt. Gov. Perdue, State Treasurer Moore, and the NC General Assembly come into play. If our elected official present a united front that Site C is not an appropriate location for the OLF, the Navy will have a hard time making its case. We need to lean on NC officials to weigh in strongly against Site C.

This is also an opportunity for the Fish and Wildlife Service to take a stand. Officials at FWS have already been chastised for criticizing the Navy's plan - and there will be intense pressure on them again.

4. Price and Butterfield are already out front on this, but we also need support from the rest of the Congressional delegation.

THOMAS: Can you find out where Congressman Jones stands on this?
WFC: Can you find out where Congressman Hayes stands on this?
MOMO: Can you find out where Congressman Shuler stands on this?
DQ: Can you find out where Congressman McHenry stands on this?
STAN: Can you find out where Congressman McIntyre stands on this?
SD: Can you find out where Congresswoman Myrick stands on this?
ANYONE: Can you find out where Congressman Etheridge stands on this?

5. The most important thing we can do is help Senator Dole, Senator Burr and Representative Jones understand that support for this OLF is not only a slap in the face of North Carolina's family farmers, but it is also reckless. Bird strikes are a clear and present danger and the US Navy would be putting pilots' lives at risk by moving forward with this plan. Dole initially supported this plan, but perhaps she has seen the error of her ways. Call her office and ask where she stands now. I don't know where Burr has been on this issue.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm not a political organizer . . . and I don't know the niceties of getting things moving like this. But we need all the help we can get. Because if NC elected officials roll over on this, the Navy will ram its deceptive SEIS right through the system claiming the OLF is critical to their readiness . . . and we'll all be screwed.

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NOTE TO REPORTERS: Many reporters have covered this story off and on. With the newest SEIS lies being written as we speak, this will quickly be on the agenda again. Please press to find out where elected officials stand on this issue. Are they for family farmers and pilot safety, or are they going to let the Navy run roughshod over North Carolina's environment and families.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a persistent rumor that the Navy was involved in illegally trapping red wolves on the proposed OLF site. We need confirmation of that rumor. We need whoever saw that happening to go public with it. I was told that the whistle-blower protection would apply here. If the person who saw this is an FWS employee, he/she would be protected.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are also persistent rumors of strong-arm tactics by the Navy in threatening farmers. These too need to be made public.

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Finally, we will need the NC General Assembly to pass a resolution against the proposed OLF on Site C. That resolution should be initiated by representatives and senators from the Site C counties.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know this is a lot, but I wanted to do a brain dump to get it all out on the table. Time to get crackin'.

Comments

Congressman Shuler....

Will get on this now! Thanks for your activism on this A....inspiring and Damn worth it!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

I need one more piece of info -

What I need to know:

What crops &/or animals are the farmers farming in these counties?

Did you know: 33,000 acres is equal to 50 square miles?
Did you know: the city of Akron is ~50 square miles?

Someone is trying to build a kingdom - it's not the farmers - and they're using your tax dollars.

When I was out there

I saw the standard fare for NC. Soybeans, corn, winter wheat, cotton, plus a boatload of nurseries for landscapers. Maybe the Farmer Ladies can weigh in with a more informed opinion.

Etheridge

From 2005, this letter.

From May of 2006, info about Butterfield and Price. Lists Etheridge as being a supporter of the effort, although less heavily involved.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Congressman Etheridge

I e-mailed him last week, and left a phone message with his office today. Will let you know as soon as I hear anything. He is usually good about replying to e-mail within a few days.

Then Cong. E

has at least two emails asking where he stands on the OLF. I sent an email last week as well. Unique ... send the Congressman one, too, if you can. One email is good. Several emails over the course of a week is better. ;)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

OK, just called the county extension service in Washington Co.

The major crops the farmers are planting are Corn/wheat/soybean and cotton. She said the major trend is Corn since the price has gone up. Also, Washington County is 222,618 acres big.

ANNDDD, called Congressman's Shuler's office asked for his position on the OLF, was told that either Congressman Shuler or someone from his office will get back to me on this. I told them that I belong to the BlueNC community and that we were doing posts on this. Hope he does respond and not think that ignoring me will make me go away. ;)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Thanks momo

you are da bomb.

NC leg

Part of the background on this within the legislature is that the President of the Senate, Marc Basnight, represents Washington county (and a few others). He has requested meetings with a few admirals and the president, and has had his case pushed by Butterfield, Price and Etheridge. Obviously, no one in Washington cares about him.

I am sure that if a bill challenging this was brought to the floor it would have the full weight of Senator Basnight behind it.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Marc Basnight has been good on this

and I hope he'll stir something up in the Senate. The Navy has been specifically asked to seek the consultation and advice of elected officials in North Carolina. A clear and compelling resolution from the General Assembly would go a long way to showing the Navy isn't listening.

I saw something about

a study commissioned by Easley. Would it be appropriate for a resolution endorsing that? It seems like that would be a good way of saying, "The State of North Carolina stands here..."

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Video of plane meets bird

If you think (under the new rules that give them more leeway to "fight terrorism") that this landing field might not mean mass destruction for migrating birds, see one-minute video from Canada of what a comparitively small red-tailed hawk can do. (Both teacher and student pilots survived.)
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

I guess

"firing" birds at them is cheaper than firing actual SAMS at them. Would appear to be the same training.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Yes I'll call pat tomorrow

 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

Since Shuler's office didn't call back

I called again, this time I spoke to one of his staff assistants, Ryan Fitzpatrick. After jumping thru a bunch of "who are you and are you in Shuler's district" hoops I again asked what is Shuler's stand on the OLF? What is an OLF? I explained. Who is BlueNC? I explained. Shuler isn't aware of this. Is that his official position? Can you send me info on this and I'll put it on his desk. So I sent, via email (ryan.fitzpatrick at mail.house.gov )links to almost all the diaries written by Anglico about the OLF.

Still waiting....

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Most reps haven't had to focus on this because

it was getting rammed through by Dole under the Party of Greed leadership. Now they have to because the entire delegation has a stake. They can either vote with the environment and family farmers, or vote with the fat-cat admirals who can't be bothered to look elsewhere for a safe place to train pilots.

hmm

Signs you arent in campaign mode anymore, "Who is BlueNC?"

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Not just not in campaign mode

flat out oblivious is more like it. Love 'em and leave 'em, I guess

A

Let's all send him an email introducing ourselves.

My email

Good morning Ryan.

I was distressed to learn this morning that you’re unaware of BlueNC.com. That’s surprising since we, following the lead of Gordon Smith and Scrutiny Hooligans, helped mobilize progressive Democrats in your district to support Heath’s candidacy – not to mention driving support in the national blogosphere. Some of us were also major donors.

I’m sure you have many things to keep you busy these days, but it would probably be a good idea to keep track of your friends.

Anglico

this is what I sent

Ryan,

Instead of writing about all our concerns, I am linking to the articles written about this at BlueNC.com. This is a website with a progressive lean that wrote letters to editors and articles about Heath Shuler. We also donated $$$ to his campaign individually.

So, here are the articles, I have put the most recent first....

All-Hands On Deck

Put-Up Or Shut-Up

How Can You Tell When The Navy is Lying?

Jennifer O

Jack Betts Weigh In On OLF

There are many more but this is enough to get you started. Please visit BlueNC.com to get a better idea of who we are.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Excellent

Damn you're good.

Wow

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a new guy - not involved in the campaign as far as I know. He may never have been to NC! 8-)

Thanks for paving the way. I'm calling the office today, and my guess is that they're just beginning to get up to speed on this.

What that means is that momo and Anglico are likely the first two folks to get to Shuler's office on this issue and it means we get to make a great first impression for our side of things.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

I thought Ryan was the cute guy

all the ladies were drooling over. I'm serious. That's all I know about him. There was a Ryan everyone kept asking me about. And neither I nor the hubby ever met him but that Ryan IS working in DC now.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

He was very genial when I talked to him

polite and even said "Yes ma'am" to me. However, he admitted he wasn't a blogger and really not familar with the Blogosphere. When I asked if he received our emails (A's and mine) he said he had but had not checked out BlueNC because "that's the sort of thing I do on weekends". (Anyone else find this confusing?)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

politicking from a policy computer.

It could be he worries of running afoul of the rules. I know that Rep. Miller will only discuss policy from some computers while Brad Miller will discuss politics from others.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Spoke to a McHenry staffer

Casey Fazio sounded extremely interested once I told her it might be buried in an appropriations bill. She did mention David Price as someone to contact since he's "in the majority" and on the committee.

She said that they had heard from some farmers from the east, but that "we really haven't weighed in on it yet." And asked me to send her an email of bullet points, followed by any other background info and my contact info. Whether they're pulling my leg about not knowing anything or not, I really couldn't ask for more than that at this point.

Considering the business of a Congressional office and this man's obvious prejudices, I'm taking suggestions on the bullet points and most persuasive and unbiased background sources.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Best to suggest they contact Congressman Price

There's a staffer in Price's office who is very knowledgeable and will know how to talk to a fellow staffer.

Anybody know the staffer's name?

I'm sending them links to the Navy's BASH experts letter to Easley and SecNav about how his report was minimized and/or ignored in the old EIS. I've got the 2005 injunction.

I think my bullet points will be: pilots will die, it's fiscally irresponsible, farmland/community loss, unknowable problems when they have to massacre millions of migratory birds.

I know they won't care about that last one but I can't not say it.

Then I'll suggest to contact the Price guy.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Bullets on OLF packets left in DC

Personally spoke with McHenry at a FreedomWorksCSE convention.
This is the cover sheet from a packet of information that was left with all the NC Delegation July 2005.
NO-OLF
North Carolinians Opposed To The Outlying Landing Field
PO Box 32
Pinetown, NC 27865
www.noolf.com

Facts of why the Navy should not build an OLF (Outlying Landing Field) in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway. The Navy’s studies downplayed the substantial risk of collisions between jets and the huge flocks of large migratory birds (10’s of thousands) that winter in the area. The Navy should pursue an OLF in a manner and location which satisfies the goals set forth in the BRAC process, namely efficiency, cost reduction, and cooperative training.

PROPOSED OLF WILL THREATEN
MILITARY PILOTS, FARMERS, HOMEOWNERS, AND WILDLIFE

Purpose of this OLF
· Concrete landing strip where repetitive flight operations are conducted by military pilots
· Aircraft carrier touch-and-go practice by F/A-18 E/F (Super Hornet) Aircraft
· Constant low-level flying at the airstrip and surrounding area

Location of the proposed Navy OLF site
· Washington/Beaufort counties, adjacent to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
· Albemarle/Pamlico peninsula in Northeastern North Carolina

Site selected, wrong site for an OLF
· Wildlife experts, military experts and scientific data concur -- wrong site for an OLF
· Jeffrey J. Short, Colonel (ret.) USAFR, considered the “father” of the USAF Bird Avoidance Model: Letter to Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Arny, April 2003
· “In 25 years of dealing with military BASH issues, I cannot recall a worse place to situate an airfield for jet training.”
· Scientific data from BAM (Bird Avoidance Model) and a recent radar study conducted by Ronald L. Merritt a former Chief of the USAF BASH (Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard) Task Force forecast severe risk of BASH: Letter to Navy Secretary England, October 2003
· “There are very few places in the United States where this level of threat exists.”
· Dangerous to Navy pilots, aircraft, civilians and wildlife due to the likelihood of aircraft collisions with the hundreds of thousands of large migratory birds
· Will destroy the Pungo Unit of PLNWR, a waterfowl sanctuary, where migratory birds have been coming for hundreds of years (“A New Voyage to Carolina,” 1709, John Lawson)

OLF is not required
· Original reason for an OLF in North Carolina -- jet noise concerns
· Navy letter, October 2000: “It is precisely because of community concerns over jet noise that we are carefully exploring the establishment of an additional outlying field ...”
· Navy pre-selected the site, used “reverse engineering” and flawed data to make the Washington/Beaufort counties site the “best site.”: Navy email, September 2002
· Split-siting brings no benefits: Navy email, September 2002
· OLF operations will become obsolete: Navy email, April 2003
· Existing facilities adequate: Navy FEIS, July 2003, 2-60

OLF will affect the economy negatively at the site area
· Devastate one of the poorest areas of North Carolina
· In contrast with existing OLFs this site is not close to a military base, will not receive economic benefits from the base

Navy disregarding key BRAC priorities: efficiency and joint operations
· The Navy will condemn over 30,000 acres for the purpose of constructing new facilities rather than using existing military facilities that would be more efficient and cost effective
· The Navy refuses to consider an ideal location where flight operations currently exist, Open Grounds Farm in Carteret County

Those opposed to the site selected for the OLF
· Military experts, wildlife experts, environmental, property rights, sportsman organizations, federal agencies, N.C. officials and agencies, citizens of Beaufort and Washington counties

OLF Site Issues and Concerns
· National issue:
o Safety of military pilots
o Protect a globally significant National Wildlife Refuge
o Waste of Federal Tax Dollars
· OLF at the Washington/Beaufort Counties site will result in the following:
o Danger for military pilots, citizens, wildlife, loss of 50+ million dollar aircraft
o Destruction of family farms established before Colonial times
o Loss of livelihood for future farming families, large number of agricultural related jobs
o Loss of over 30,000 acres (almost fifty square miles)
o Loss of thousands of dollars of county tax revenue, real estate values
o Loss of present and future natural resources that support ecotourism, tourism, sportsman activities, retirement communities, recreational communities
o Pollution: air, land, water, noise
· 100+ organizations and groups oppose the site
· Better locations for the OLF

Lawsuit
· January, 2004 – suit filed in federal district court against the U.S. Navy’s OLF site
· February 18, 2005 – permanent injunction against the U.S. Navy’s OLF issued
· Navy appealed permanent injunction, hearing July 20, 2005

U.S. Congress can help
· Encourage the Navy to pursue an OLF in a manner and location which satisfies the goals set forth in the BRAC process, namely efficiency, cost reduction, and cooperative training

The OLF is an important issue for North Carolina, and our nation.
Thank you for time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Alligood, Chair
Doris Morris, Comm. Director

What a great pile of info

In my anger over pilot deaths, I completely forgot about the expensive planes being trashed. I'm gonna add a link to the bird meets plane video (see comment above) to my stuff.

Doris, thank you for all the work you've done. Obviously, the congressman's staff either didn't read it or did and don't care. The screener initially said to me, "So it's basically an environmental issue." I assume he was trying to figure out to which staffer he should direct my call.

I know that McHenry probably doesn't give a crap about anything environmental. When are bible-quoting conservatives going to understand that wrecking the earth is harmful to humans (at the very least), I have no idea.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback and for all the wonderful work you and your organization are doing.

 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I sent info out

I forwarded this info on the olf to aide to senator queen from NC 47th district. Asked that he be informed and look at NCBlue for more info and to support resolution in N C senate. Thanks for the work you all are doing on the issue. Will let you know if i hear back.

Drama Queen, how the heck r u?

Thanks.

I really appreciate you helping with that "last mile." If the story doesn't get from here to the representatives, it doesn't really count.

Thank you.

Are you back from South America?

Or am I confusing you with someone else?

 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

i sent said person

an email yesterday. i dont think he posts here.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Don't Forget -

That's $57 million per plane

And there are 27 other military installations in NC - 3 of them already listed as OLF

The range of an F/A -18 is 1,275 nautical miles. A few hundred miles down the coast to another site won't run them out of gas before they can get home. :p

Isn't this all insane?

Can it be all because the Navy brass doesn't/don't want to have to fly another half hour in their helicopters twice a month?

And Democrats are accused of being unpatriotic.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Way Past Insane

When I first heard about this a couple of years ago, my first thought was, 'Oh, this will never fly - what person in their right mind is going to fly planes in the middle of all those big, slow moving birds?'

Imagine my surprise to find out a couple years later that not only is this not a dead issue it's still being rammed down our throats. It's past insane into criminal.

I don't think this is about the Navy wanting to land planes, I think it's about someone (or several someones) wanting to carve out a future kingdom in NE NC. Because that's the only thing that does make sense.

Once that land is condemned and people are moved off it and the Navy loses a couple multimillion dollar planes to birdstrikes - what happens then? They say, 'Oh, gee, this really wasn't a good place for an OLF and the land goes up on the auction block. That's what happens when a base closes. Either the county or municipality buys it (if they can afford it) or it goes on the block to developers.

If someone - anyone - can think of a scenario that makes better sense, I'd love to hear it. Because I haven't seen one yet.

Just went to WRAL website to check on tomorrows weather

and noticed that Bill Leslie just did a piece on Pettigrew State Park in Washington and Tyrrell counties. He has a regular segment called Tar Heel Traveler. His email addy is bleslie@wral.com. Haven't had the opportunity to check out the piece and don't know if he mentioned the Navy OLF trying to take over this area, but he certainly needs to be brought on-board with us over this.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

My dad

has prepared more Environmental Impact Statements than he would want to count. I sent him off an email asking for thoughts on the controversy (and bringing him up to speed real quick). I wont get an answer for a few days though, he is out of country for a few more days.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Here you go

Terrific!

Thank you so much

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Fish & Wildlife on Gag Order

Does the Navy not see how loudly this screams??