Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Easley: OLF help wanted in U.S. Senate

When Gov. Mike Easley helped open the Wildlife Resources Commission’s new headquarters building on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus near downtown Raleigh Tuesday, he came primed to say a few serious words about the Navy’s ill-conceived plan to put an outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties.
Easley chose this opportunity to sound off in a stronger way than he has before about his opposition to the Navy’s preference of a site near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. That’s where many tens of thousands of large migratory waterfowl spend their winters, loafing in the refuge and flying out each day to forage for food in nearby fields. Those birds and those jets are going to collide, aircraft accident experts warn – or else the Navy is going to have to somehow get rid of the birds.
The governor noted in his formal remarks that the Wildlife Resources Commission works to conserve the state’s natural resources, but when it protects these migratory waterfowl, “We’re protecting not just some of the resources of North Carolina but of the world and indeed all of North America.”
He also noted that commission members had gone to hearings the Navy is holding on its revised environmental impact statement, and added, “I hope you don’t get drafted as a result of it but it is very important ... to let them know we're not just talking about some small group of environmentalists.” We’re talking, Easley went on, about 850,000 North Carolinians who hold fishing, hunting and boating licenses and who want the refuge and its birds left alone.
After Easley’s formal remarks I had to dash back to the office to participate in a WUNC radio interview on recent Supreme Court decisions, but both the Associated Press and Wade Rawlins of The News & Observer recorded Easley’s informal chat with reporters about the OLF.
Gary Robertson of the AP wrote that Easley had gotten in a dig at the state’s senators, Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, for not speaking out more directly on the OLF. Easley said he was seeking help from U.S. senators in other states, the AP reported: “I’m not getting any help out of our senators yet, but I have been talking to other senators because their ducks come down here too,” Easley said. “Everybody has a stake in the outcome. I think now that we have some people up there in the Senate that I know from those states, we’ll be able to get a coalition that will make them sit down and be a little more reasonable.”
And The N&O reported that Easley said putting the OLF near the wildlife refuge would be one of the “worst environmental mistakes” in state history and would “ruin the refuge.” Here’s a link to Wade Rawlins' story on the N&O website.
It shows Mike Easley has moved well off the dime in standing up to the Navy.

7 comments:

David McKnight said...

And to supporters of presidential campaigns of such New Englsand candidates as Republican Mitt Romney of Massachsuetts and Democrat Chris Dodd of Connecticut, it should be pointed out that these are not Republican or Democratic ducks and geese winging their way from North to South, they are just good ol' hard-chugging North American waterfowl looking for a nice spot to spend some time within earshot of "The Lost Colony" at Manteo, where they might add this soliloquy to the great outdoor draama:

Fair is fowl and fowl is fair,
Let us clear the bi-partisan air.
For it is not your ordinary parakeet
Which casts a longing eye to Mattamuskeet.

Or:

To honk or not to honk,
That is the issue.
Anon! Spare these birds the conk.
Ere we go reaching for the tissue.

Methinks the Navy has better places to look
To find its fighter jets some landing room.
Why garble up the precious coastal brook?
Your pilots will be wrangling with a broom.

That "lean and hungry look" of bureaucrats
Could be sweetened by glancing at the stars.
So rather than empower more plutocrats,
Cast "Anchors Away" 'twixt Norfolk and Mars.

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