If you had told me I would find the best description of the battle between the Navy and Washington Co. farmers at the Southeast Farm Press, I'm sure I would have told you that you're crazy. But, there it is:
More than three years ago the U.S. Navy proposed building a touch and go landing strip, or offsite landing field, for its F18 Super Hornet squadrons operating out of Navy Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and Marine Corps Air Station, in Cherry Point, N.C.,
What the Navy got was a snarling wolf, which they find themselves holding firmly by the ears — weary of holding on, but unwilling to let go.
I love the comparison of the farmers to a snarling wolf.
The author of the article does a pretty good job of summing up the struggle between North Carolina citizens and the U.S. Navy. He even includes facts I don't recall seeing before. Take this tidbit from our Agriculture Commissioner, Steve Troxler:
Saving the farm seems to be the most vocal of the many groups opposing the OLF at Site C in North Carolina. North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler contends the Navy landing site would cost the agricultural industry in the region over $6 million per year.
Troxler says, “My appreciation of what the men and women of our armed forces do for our country doesn’t change the fact that North Carolina has lost over 300,000 acres of farmland since 2003 and we’ve lost the most farmland of any state in the country for the past two years.”
The article's author, Roy Roberson, touches on the impact to the price of land, the ability to provide products used for alternative fuels and the grain shortage already affecting the pork industry.
Finally, he gets to the point that so many in the corporate press let slide. The power and greed of Virginia legislators.
For their part the wolf is not backing down. The NO OLF Committee, chaired by Jennifer Alligood, has vowed to continue the fight. While some residents believe deep down that the Navy will win the right to build the OLF at Site C, regardless of the political entanglements, Alligood is not one of those people.
She believes in the long run the people will win and the farming community will continue as it has for hundreds of years.
In the interim politicians, business leaders, and concerned citizens up and down North Carolina’s east coast have become interested participants in the political chess match that pits powerful Virginia legislators on one side — they hope to keep most of the revenue from the Super Hornet squadrons in Virginia, but hope to deal many of the environmental problems off to rural North Carolina.
Please go read the entire piece and send Roy Roberson from the Southeast Farm Press some love.
Update: Parmea reminds us to keep sending our comments to the Navy in the form of questions. Please go here to ask the Navy your OLF questions about the draft SEIS.