Hopefully this signals the General Assembly is getting better at recognizing a really bad idea when it surfaces:
The state House of Representatives on Thursday cut funding for a study that's required if the port is to be built near Southport. Among the concerns is that the proposed port, which would be the state's biggest, would be built next to a twin-reactor nuclear plant and that it could pose environmental risks to protected habitats.
The House voted 104-11 in favor of Rep. Pricey Harrison's budget amendment that eliminated the study funding. Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, said the proposed port was envisioned more than four years ago as a public-private partnership, but the N.C. State Ports Authority had not found a private investor.
This battle has been brewing for some time now, and support for this project has been leaking away as the scrutiny of thoughtful people hones in. And the arrogance and desperation of big-money supporters has grown in response. Here's an excerpt from a letter sent to the Governor, a copy of which arrived in my mystery mailbox a few days ago:
On Sunday, May 30th, in a front-page article on opposition to the proposed North Carolina International Terminal, the Raleigh News & Observer reported that, "The head of the N.C. State Ports Authority, Tom Eagar, dismisses the local critics as know-nothings and transplants."
But lo and behold, when I went to the N&O website to link to said article, I find this:
Tom Eagar, CEO of the N.C. State Ports Authority, said that in a front page article Sunday, The News & Observer did not accurately characterize his assessment of opponents to a proposed international shipping terminal near Southport. Eagar's actual comment to The N&O was: "They're a very small group. They're new to North Carolina. They're extremely biased. And, quite honestly, they're misinformed."
Right. Because those two comments sound so much alike.
Somebody's doing some whitewashing here, and the News & Observer is right up in the middle of it. You guys worried about losing your place at the journalistic table? You should be. You've either got an incredibly inept reporter working for you, or you're casually sacrificing a good reporter's integrity at the behest of monied interests. My money is on the latter.
Back to the proposed Port expansion. There is an abundance of information available compiled by "know-nothings" at the NoPort Southport website, including some reality-based estimates of the dredging and habitat destruction this boondoggle will require:
The State Ports Authority plans require the dredging of a new channel, 600 feet wide and 52 feet deep, from the port location approximately 17 miles out to sea at the Cape Fear. Such a channel cannot follow the existing channel to the river mouth, but must be cut through shallow water, islands and marshland to the east of the existing channel.