OLF comments 3-21-07
My name is Dan Besse. I live at 1136 Miller Street, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 27103.
You may wonder what a Winston-Salem resident is doing five hours drive from home to deliver three minutes of testimony. Let me suggest, first, that this is a measure of how important this part of our state, and the health of its people and its natural resources, are to all North Carolinians.
In addition, there is this: While I am currently a City Council Member in Winston-Salem, I lived and worked for a decade in New Bern. In my work as a legal aid attorney, and in my volunteer service for eight years as a member of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, I traveled our coastal region. Like many other North Carolinians, I know and care for this area because it is part of my home, too.
And the message to you from people around our coast and across our state is this: You have selected one of the worst imaginable sites for placement of the proposed OLF. The so-called Site C adjacent to the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge would put our best and brightest young Navy pilots squarely in the flight path of hundreds of thousands of large migratory waterfowl in the midst of their critical winter feeding grounds. That is a guaranteed recipe for disaster for both pilots and birds.
Ladies and gentlemen, I respect a can-do spirit, but I ask that it be tempered with reality. The idea that this particular facility can successfully operate at that spot without fatally compromising the value of the refuge is simply not reality.
Please let there be no mistake. We in North Carolina respect and honor the men and women of our armed services. My father proudly served our country as a member of the United States Marine Corps. In fact, he was serving our country overseas at the time I was born here in our state.
My Dad the Marine—and my Dad the hunter—would call the decision to place the OLF next to the wildlife refuge an example of rear-echelon bone-headed politics.
At least that's the language Dad would use if Mom were in hearing range. Otherwise, he might be more blunt.
So let me be blunt. Don't make this mistake. The state of North Carolina has offered to work with you to find a site that will will work for all of us. Take us up on that offer. Thank you.