The OLF should not come here

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 1, 2007

R-C News-Herald Editorial

We chose to live here for a reason.

For many of us, it is the quiet and peaceful existence that is available in Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties.

We chose the laid-back lifestyle that comes with country living, farms. We chose the lack of city convenience for a more serene existence.

If the United States Navy has its way, that existence is in danger for many of us.

Already holding a proposal to put an outlying landing field in Bertie County, the Navy added two sites in Gates County to their potential target list. Because of their close proximity to Hertford County, those sites now will endanger the peaceful existence of people in two of the Roanoke-Chowan region’s counties.

While we are supporters of the U.S. Navy, their operation and we’re certainly a group of proud American citizens in our region, we also recognize fair is fair.

The state of Virginia has all the benefits of Oceana Naval Air Station. They have the people, the employees and the economic impact that goes with having a Naval air base.

They should also shoulder the responsibility that comes with it.

If the OLF was for Cherry Point, then North Carolina should shoulder the burden for it. We receive the benefits of having the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in the state and we are responsible for it.

For reasons that pass understanding, the Navy wants to make North Carolina, particularly eastern North Carolina, responsible for the testing training performed by Navy fighter jet pilots based at Oceana. We are not.

Fortunately, the leaders of Bertie, Gates and Hertford counties have stepped forward. They have loudly proclaimed their opposition to having the noisy OLF located here. We as citizens should join them.

“The Navy is going to take the path of least resistance. Gates County is not that path.” Those words from Gates County Commissioner David Brown should be our mantra.

Northeastern North Carolina in general and the Roanoke-Chowan region in particular will not be that path. We need to stand with our leaders and do what is necessary to stop an OLF from disrupting our lives.

In Hertford County, Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer correctly stated that building an OLF in this area will be done on the backs of our citizens. No matter who pays for construction, and taxpayers pay for that as well, the increased tax rates to make up for lost property tax revenue because of the OLF will be crippling to the citizens of this region.

The Roanoke-Chowan region is a lovely, quiet and peaceful existence. We work hard, raise our families and live our lives without a lot of the griping and complaining that comes from larger cities.

All we want is to live that life without the intrusion of something that should not be here and for which we are not responsible.