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Board asks state to adopt law to protect military installations

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners are asking state legislators to pass a law blocking all encroachment or impairments to military training routes without state approval.

In a resolution passed by Wayne Commissioners earlier this week, and sent to state and federal lawmakers over the weekend, the Board voiced its strong opposition to a proposed wind turbine project that threatens training missions of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and other Department of Defense users of the airspace near the planned project.

The proposed wind energy project is in the most frequently used low-level training route employed by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base F-15E aircrew en route to the Dare County Bombing Range.

This training route is the only F-15E Strike Eagle training route in the nation, making Seymour Johnson Air Force Base home to the only two Strike Eagle aviator training programs in the country.

Wind turbine structures and rotating blades have a negative effect on both the F-15E’s main radar and its terrain following radar system at both medium and low altitude flight levels.

The turbines would be located in the final segment of the route leading directly into the Dare County Bombing Range and would compromise the training mission of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and other neighboring Department of Defense military installations.

Wayne County Commissioners asked the North Carolina General Assembly and all of the citizens in North Carolina to oppose such energy projects in eastern North Carolina.

The Board of Commissioners believe there should be stricter permitting and public input processes for wind and solar generation and are calling for full property appraisal assessment for properties near a wind energy project.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, along with other military installations in North Carolina, is a critical economic component of the entire state as evidenced by the following:

● Department of Defense spending exceeded $4.06 billion in federal fiscal year 2011- an increase
of 13 percent and $471 million over procurement in the state in 2012.

● Businesses in 87 of North Carolina’s 100 counties performed defense-related prime contracts in 2011. Twenty-two of those counties received over $20 million in defense-related work, twelve of these received over $50 million in defense-related work.

● The military has a $26 billion total annual impact on the state economy.

● More than 416,000 individuals, or eight percent of total state employment, are either directly employed by the military or Coast Guard, or have jobs with organizations and companies producing products and services that support the military in North Carolina.

● Military growth is expected to increase the state’s gross state product by $2.9 billion and add 49,000 new jobs by 2013.