Monday, February 01, 2010

Virginia lawmakers opposed to OLF? Nah

The other day a blogpost ran here that raised the question whether the Virginia General Assembly, now in session, would adopt legislation similar to North Carolina's making it harder for the Navy to construct an Outlying Landing Field in the Old Dominion.

Citizens in Northeastern North Carolina waged a long campaign against an OLF in Washington and Beaufort counties that would pit Super Hornet jets against large migratory waterfowl in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, possibly causing damage to jets and pilots, not to mention tundra swans and snow geese.

Turns out the Virginia legislature wasn't interested in one bill to make it harder for the Navy to find a landing site. That bill went down in committee, though another is pending but has no more than a 50-50 chance, according to one legislator's forecast.

Here's an excerpt from Amelia Reddington's story in the Tidewater News:

"RICHMOND — One bill is grounded, and another is in a holding pattern: That is the status of two pieces of legislation affecting the proposed location of an Outlying Landing Field in Virginia.
"A Senate committee this week killed Sen. Fredrick M. Quayle’s bill requiring the Navy to get General Assembly approval before it acquires property for an OLF. The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections voted 8-5 to “pass by indefinitely” Senate Bill 6.
"However, a different OLF bill is still alive in the House. Delegate William K. Barlow, D-Smithfield, is sponsoring House Bill 887, which makes land use a local matter to be decided by local officials.
“It is an attempt to prevent the Navy from locating an OLF in the three areas of Virginia” that the Navy is considering for an OLF, Barlow said. Those possible sites are:
* Cabin Point (in Surry County, bordering Prince George and Sussex counties)
* Dory (in Southampton County)
* Mason (straddling Sussex and Southampton counties, bordering Greenville County)
"Barlow said that if his legislation passes, the federal government would not be able to tell local officials how to use the area’s land, giving localities control over land use."