Legislation could make it more difficult to develop OLF

Published 10:59 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.—North Carolina’s two U.S. senators have sponsored a bill that might make it more difficult for the Navy to build a practice landing field in one of five localities, including Southampton County.

According to a news release issued by Sen. Kay Hagan, she and Sen. Richard Burr are requiring that the Navy submit a report to Congress on the suitability of existing outlying landing fields or OLFs and military airfields along the East Coast before the Navy considers spending money on a new field.

The Navy has proposed five options for a new OLF, which would be used by fighter pilots stationed at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. The sites are in Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties and Gates and Camden counties in North Carolina.

On Wednesday, the Senate and the House passed the bill, sending it to President Obama for his signature.

“It mandates that the Sen. Burr and I worked together to prevent the Navy from placing an OLF in northeastern North Carolina,” Hagan said. “The Navy has existing OLFs and military airfields. These facilities must be thoroughly evaluated before planning any new OLF, which I, along with the citizens of North Carolina, strongly oppose.”

Hagan comes from a strong military family. Her father-in-law was a two-star Marine general, and her father and brother both served in the Navy. Her husband is a Navy Vietnam veteran who attended Wake Forest Law School with help from the G.I. Bill. And Hagan has two nephews who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.