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Price Presses Navy Chief on OLF

March 9, 2005
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - In a sharp exchange during an Appropriations subcommittee hearing this afternoon, US Rep. David Price (NC-04) urged Admiral Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, and the Honorable BJ Penn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and the Environment, to go "back to the drawing board" with the Navy's plan for an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Eastern North Carolina.

Referencing a recent US District Court ruling, Price asked, "I understand that Judge Boyle ruled last month that the Navy did not fulfill its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ...before making its decision to construct an Outlying Landing Field...How does the Navy plan to respond to the federal judge's decision?"

He continued, "There is a strong consensus at the state level that the Navy's site is problematic, and that feeling has been affirmed by Judge Boyle's decision. But I also believe that there is a strong consensus that an alternative can be found, and the state is ready to help find another site. Is the Navy exploring one?"

Clark responded that the Navy is not extensively considering alternatives, that they're appealing the Judge's decision, and that they're "planning for success" in their appeal.

Price told Clark that he was disappointed that the Navy was pressing ahead without regard for the concerns of so many North Carolinians. "This is not just a legal question about process," he said. "It is about the legitimate concerns that have been raised by stakeholders. In light of the Judge's ruling, this issue is absolutely ripe for reconsideration."

Price has been part of the congressional delegation's effort to get the Navy to respond to North Carolinians who are concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed OLF site or who live nearby.

As a member of the new Military Quality of Life Appropriations subcommittee, Price asks Administration officials to justify the President's budget requests for the Army, the Navy, Veterans' Affairs, and other agencies – especially as they relate to North Carolinians.