I find myself compelled to different degrees by both sides of the argument on this issue. Generally I support something that offers economic development, particularly if it doesn’t do so by just giving tax-breaks to corporations which is just bad long-term policy. It’s also ironic that a year after fighting to keep all of North Carolina’s bases we are now saying we don’t want expansions of some of said bases and new facilities. All that said I’m also a conservationist and would never advocate something that had a major negative impact on fragile wetland environments or agricultural jobs which are the foundation of our State (that’s the State as an entity not just the economy). But this all leaves me wondering, ‘Are these really the only options?’
As for my hair-brained scheme, for some reason when thinking about the OLF I recalled my trip through Scotland last year. While driving through Inverness I saw loads of offshore platforms in their harbor. I was lucky enough to be traveling with a friend who was not only Scottish but had previously worked on oil rigs in the North Sea. From what he told me and what I saw I learned that offshore platforms are mobile (I had previously thought they were fixed) and that they’re brought into Inverness for maintenance/overhaul and storage when not in use. Also I learned that I saw so many because many are being stored or decommissioned as there are less active sites on the North Sea.
Somehow this connected to the OLF issue, especially the need for a field on which to practice carrier landings. Most people think that means they want a safer place for training pilots to practice and therefore what to do it on land. However, the need for a place to practice is because more carriers are in higher states of readiness due to our current “War on Terror” so as more carriers must be ready for action, less of them can be used for training/practice. Also, having spoken to friends in Military Aviation I learned that most of the challenge of a carrier landing is not just that it’s a shorter runway but the fact that you’re hitting a moving target. The fact that they want a land based alternative for safety is not the issue here, it’s just the only alternative if they can’t use actual carriers. So what I thought was why not use some of these unused offshore-platforms (its also one less platform that will be used to drill for oil which are their main negative impact on the environment) to build an offshore landing platform? Well there are probably a million reasons why not to, I don’t really have the resources for a feasibility study, but that’s not my point, my point is that with some creativity and some leadership there has to be some alternatives.
I guess what I'm saying is that if those are my only options, yeah I'm against. What I really would like is someone with the leadership to come up with alternatives to two bad choices.